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 GUEST POST ~  Thom Rainer

Your Church Must Deal With Rapid Change

 

“Our team has conducted hundreds of church consultations. I did my first consultation in 1988. We have a plethora of anecdotal data and church member interviews where we see that Baby Boomers are often the most resistant to change. Indeed, in some of the churches, the Baby Boomer members decided to close the church rather than infringe upon their personal preferences (Church Answers Research).

 

“Many churches will likely have new opportunities to make needed changes for greater congregational health as the Baby Boomers fade from the scene.

 

“Innovation and change in churches will improve.”

 

https://churchgrowthmagazine.com/seven-ways-your-church-must-deal-with-rapid-change/

 

#ReimagineFutureChurch

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GUEST POST ~ Is This Your New Normal?

 GUEST POST ~ Is This Your New Normaal?

Absolute Surrender; Undistracted Devotion

 by Mike Higgs

 

We heard a startling and sobering statistic the other day. According to the latest Gallop poll, 81 percent of Americans say they believe in God, which is the lowest percentage since Gallop started asking the question in 1944. Other polls tell us that around 63% actually identify as Christians. These percentages are not surprising to those of us who are observers of culture shifts in our country. But a statistic used by author John Mark Comer in a recent podcast highlighted what he calls "the chasm we have in the wider culture" between identifying as a Christian and actually living like one. He says,  "Any attempt to actually measure how many Americans are practicing the way of Jesus, like discipling under or apprenticing under Jesus, most estimates come in right around 4%." Yikes! 

     This statistic is sobering because we live in sobering times. Hopefully no explanation of that is necessary. For me, there is no 59% gap between what I confess with my mouth and how I live my life. But there remains a gap. And I am trying to minimize if not eliminate it, through what the author Andrew Murray calls "absolute surrender." For me, absolute surrender has meant developing my own" rule of life," so to speak, then praying regularly and desperately that I might life in accord with this rule. I put this together a few years ago, and call it My New Normal. It resides in my journal, where I reflect on it and pray into it several times a week.

My New Normal:
• Jesus has not made a difference in my life; rather, He is my life. I have died and my life is hidden with Christ in God. I am a new creation in Christ.
• I have not accepted Christ into my life; rather, I have surrendered my life to Him, absolutely, unequivocally, and unconditionally. My life is not my own. I have been bought with a price.
• While I have set apart a daily devotional time, my life is to be a 24/7/365 devotional time. There is no sacred/secular division or distinction. I seek to Practice His Presence continually, in unbroken fellowship and prayer.
• While Sunday mornings and other experiences of corporate singing, prayer and teaching are an expression of my worship, the offering of my body as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:2) is my continual act of worship.
• I have no rights.
• I will be unoffendable.
• I will forgive always and without exception.
• I will always consider all others as more important than myself.
• I will resist any measure of conformity to any pattern of this world, and be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
• I will be all in, all the time, all the days of my life.
• I will love my wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
• I will give the rest of my days, with my wife, to awaken the church, equip the willing, engage the culture, disciple the nations, and otherwise bear witness of Christ. Together, we will help people discover their true identity, purpose and belonging through Christ.
• Following the example of the Lord’s Prayer – “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – we will seek spiritual transformation in our community, through our prayers and our service.

     I have seen some significant shrinking of the gap in my own life over the past few years, and I think (hope) my wife would concur. But I have found there is an obstacle to further progress: distraction. And I am a master of distraction. One of my favorite authors, Francis Frangipane, says, "It is time to enter the place of undistracted devotion." More on Undistracted Devotion in the next newsletter.

 

Copyright © sondance, all rights reserved
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GUEST POST: The Power of Stories: Learning from the Past to Shape Our Future

Dean Jones
VIsionary Leader | Driving Transformational CHange
 

{ Note: Read from a ministry, rather than a busdiness, perspective... } The Power of Stories: Learning from the Past to Shape Our Future

 

In the grand tapestry of human existence, stories serve as the threads that weave together the fabric of our collective experience. From ancient myths passed down through generations to modern-day narratives unfolding in real-time, stories have always been the cornerstone of how we make sense of the world around us. As a business transformation strategist and consultant specializing in project management, portfolio management, and program management, I have come to appreciate the profound impact that stories have on shaping our understanding of the past and guiding us towards a better future.

Stories have a unique ability to transcend time and space, connecting us to our ancestors and offering insights into their triumphs, struggles, and triumphs. Whether it's the epic tales of heroes and heroines overcoming adversity or the intimate anecdotes shared around a family dinner tableIn the grand tapestry of human existence, stories serve as the threads that weave together the fabric of our collective experience. From ancient myths passed down through generations to modern-day narratives unfolding in real-time, stories have always been the cornerstone of how we make sense of the world around us. As a business transformation strategist and consultant specializing in project management, portfolio management, and program management, I have come to appreciate the profound impact that stories have on shaping our understanding of the past and guiding us towards a better future.

Stories have a unique ability to transcend time and space, connecting us to our ancestors and offering insights into their triumphs, struggles, and triumphs. Whether it's the epic tales of heroes and heroines overcoming adversity or the intimate anecdotes shared around a family dinner table, stories serve as windows into the human condition, revealing our shared humanity and universal truths.

At the heart of every great story lies a lesson—a nugget of wisdom that offers guidance and inspiration for navigating life's complexities. As business leaders and decision-makers, we can draw invaluable insights from the stories of those who have come before us, learning from their successes, failures, and everything in between. By embracing the lessons of the past, we can chart a course towards a brighter and more prosperous future.

But stories are more than just vessels for conveying information—they are catalysts for transformation. When we hear a compelling story that resonates with our values and beliefs, it has the power to ignite our imagination, spark our creativity, and compel us to take action. Whether it's a tale of innovation and entrepreneurship or a narrative of resilience and perseverance, stories have the power to inspire us to reach for greatness and strive for excellence in all that we do.

By harnessing the power of storytelling, leaders can engage their teams, align their vision, and mobilize collective action towards a common goal. Whether it's communicating a new strategy, rallying support for a bold initiative, or inspiring a shared sense of purpose, stories have the power to bring people together and propel organizations towards success.

But perhaps most importantly, stories remind us of our humanity—that we are all connected by a shared narrative, bound by common hopes, dreams, and aspirations. In a world increasingly characterized by division and discord, stories have the power to bridge the gaps that separate us, fostering empathy, understanding, and compassion. By sharing our stories with one another, we can break down barriers, build bridges, and create a more inclusive and equitable world for future generations.

In conclusion, stories are not just a means of entertainment or information—they are the essence of who we are as human beings., stories serve as windows into the human condition, revealing our shared humanity and universal truths.

{Permission was granted to Repost}
 
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GUEST-POST: City Saturation = Prayer Saturation x Christ Saturation

Get SATURATED With More of Christ!
Try These Five Easy Steps
David Bryant
 
In about a week, I will address a conference of 1000 Christian leaders from New York City to Philadelphia. We are preparing for JESUS WEEK 2024, which will take place in cities and communities across the region this summer. Now in its first decade, JESUS WEEK has a great website. Check it out here.
Mobilization for every JESUS WEEK involves a three-fold strategy:
  1. Christ Saturation
  2. Prayer Saturation
  3. City Saturation
My assignment is to inspire and train participants to saturate their own lives with more of the glories of the lordship of Jesus today so that, in turn, they can spread that same experience to everyone in their churches. This “Christ Saturation” initiative is foundational to the impact of the extensive, multifaceted outreach involved in every JESUS WEEK.
I usually end my training by giving everyone five very easy next steps. If you would like to explore how your life might become more caught up with the person, presence, power, and purposes of God’s Son, these next steps may be for YOU too!
Here we go!
Five Easy Steps Into a “Christ Saturation”

1. Above all, you need to start by saturating your own life with more of who Christ is today.

To enlarge and enrich your own vision of and passion for the majesty and supremacy of God’s Son today so that, in turn, you can share this with others, go to ChristNow.com. Scroll down to “Exalting Jesus: A 21-Day Video Journey Into More of Christ” and click on the button—and get ready to be saturated with much more of our Lord Jesus Christ!

2. Next, try to saturate fellow believers with more of the wonders of Jesus that you have uncovered.

Once you’ve taken the 21-Day Journey yourself, form a small group in your church to go on the Journey together, viewing three video clips per one-hour session for a total of seven sessions.

Within each session, take time between the three video clips to discuss what kind of fresh insights you’ve gained in each video clip about the glory of who Jesus is today.

End each session in a time of worship and prayer. Pray especially for a Christ-saturation of your entire church and for many there to wake up to the fullness of the greatness and glory of Jesus the way you have begun to do so through the 21-Day Video Journey.

3. Form a Christ Awakening Servant Team (CAST) inside your church to transform your church.

A CAST can have as few as four to five members who want to help saturate their church with more of the person, presence, power, and purposes of our reigning Redeemer today. The CAST strategy is easy to implement. Over time, it will bring a whole new spiritual dynamic into the life of your congregation.

To get started, go to ChristNow.com. Scroll down to the panel about the Nationwide Campaign and click on the button that says, “Learn More.” Then, scroll down to the panel about the CAST and click on that button to get all the help you need to form this group and begin to serve the Body of Christ in an unprecedented way.

4. Subscribe for free to the Christ Now Resources Catalog so you can keep growing in your life in Christ.

Visit ChristNow.com, scroll down, and immediately sign up for the Catalog. You’ll receive a password by email that allows you to access a vast variety of literally thousands of free resources at any time that will help you go deeper and further with God’s Son, as well as equip you to help others experience a Christ awakening. Take 30 minutes to explore the Catalog, and you’ll quickly discover what a treasure trove it is!

5. Pastors and other Christian leaders should definitely consider drawing on the in-depth teaching found in “The Christ Institutes Video Training Series.

To begin, subscribe for free to the “Christ Now Resources Catalog” at ChristNow.com. Once you get into the Catalog, click on the button that takes you to the Institutes landing page—and you’re on your way!
Get started today!

About the Author

Over the past 50 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ Awakening movements. Download his widely read ebooks at ChristNow.com. Enjoy hundreds of podcast episodes. Watch his weekly vlogs at David Bryant REPORTS. Meet with David through Zoom or in-person events through David Bryant LIVE!

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Church Growth: The Road Less Traveled 

 
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Does Your Church Position God Alone as Father?

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The Bible leaves no doubt about the identity of those who follow Jesus.  We are God’s children.  He is our Father.  Satan’s perpetual lie since the dawn of time is that our Father cannot be trusted.  Religious leaders throughout history have questioned our identity and access by positioning themselves as intermediaries between the Father and His children.  Christ came to prove once and for all that His Father (and ours) loves His children personally, unequivocally, and unconditionally.  Often unwittingly and unintentionally, church leaders divert attention from the Father to themselves and churches in ways that undermine our relationshipwith Him.  The result are churchgoers not grounded enough (in their status as a son or daughter) to represent Christ well, fueling popular perceptions of Christians as hypocritical and judgmental.

Our Heavenly Father Produces Faithful Children

Our Father knows His children and they recognize His voice.  If parents are rarely fooled by their kids, the Father is never deceived by His.  Jesus looked at the heart, merciful to those acknowledging their weaknesses but reserving His harshest words for those projecting under false pretenses.  Genuine Christ-followers pursue the Lord with all their hearts and seek His righteousness, not self-righteousness.  Our Father is interested in authentic Kingdom advancement, not the size of a church’s congregation or number of confessions of faith.  He is looking for true disciples, not cultural Christians, who embody…

  1. Growth – To find out “who was who”, Jesus preached His most challenging sermon at the height of His popularity.  His objective was relational, not numerical, growth.  How often do pastors “preach a church down” on purpose to weed out the insincere or (perpetually) unrepentant?  Losing excess weight typically makes people, and churches, healthier.  Jesus didn’t entertain (or, in some cases, tolerate) those only interested in what He could do for them, not a relationship with Him.  He knew who was seeking a favor (temporal help), not God (eternal hope).  Our Father is about depth, not breadth.
  2. Sincerity – In the early Church, no distinction existed between “disciple” and “Christian”.  A public profession of faith in Christ could be a death sentence.  Anyone that courageous was desperate for a relationship like Jesus had with His Father.  Persecution forced believers into small, house churches.   In America, where conspicuous church buildings dot the landscape and Christians are just beginning to experience relatively mild forms of persecution, it’s more difficult to tell those who has surrendered from who’s simply going through the motions.
  3. Obedience – We want our children to obey because they love us, not to get something or avoid punishment.  Their motive for obedience becomes more important than obedience itself.  Agape love, the purest of all motives, is the Greatest Commandment.  Jesus exposed those strictly following the law to appease God or impress people.  In today’s culture, sin has left our vernacular and society flouts and celebrates violations of God’s commandments.  Authentic Christ-followers repent, transform, and even love those who hate them.
  4. Discipleship – Jesus provided a vivid example of how to live out the Great Commission.  His discipleship approach was personal, intensive, and multiplicative.  Christians who don’t become a disciple or make disciples aren’t one.  We discover who truly walks in Jesus’ footsteps by how they respond to adversity.  Do they cower, revile, defend, or view disappointments as God’s appointments?
  5. Compassion – The Greatest of All identified Himself with the “least of these”.  Jesus’ economy flips ours on its head – rich is poor and poor is rich.  He modeled healing and feeding to open ears before disclosing who He is (i.e. the Gospel).  The implication of Jesus’ parables of the Good SamaritanSheep and Goats, and Rich Man and Lazarusis clear – no genuine Christ-follower will ignore the (materially) poor.  For roughly 1,900 years, churches took those warnings seriouslyyet few churches and Christians today make them a commensurate priority.

Any intermediaries or impediments in our lives that operate outside the bounds of Agape will inhibit our relationship with the Father.  Their lack of authenticity will diminish ours as distance from Him impedes our growth, sincerity, obedience, discipleship, and compassion.

Spiritual “Fatherhood” Produces Spiritual Orphans

Intimacy with the Father suffers when churches repair the curtain (separating us from Him) that tore when Jesus was crucified.  Our last blog post listed 25 ways in which churches today insert themselves between man and God, redirecting attention from the Father to the institution.  It becomes difficult to sense the Lord pursuing us (as a child) when the church is pursuing us (as a member).  It’s hard to distinguish our love for our Father from our love for our church when both are asking for our loyalty and allegiance…

  1. Growth – While Jesus humbled spiritual “fathers” and demanded commitment to the Father, many churches today elevate pastors and emphasize commitment to the church (invite/involve/invest).  There’s nothing wrong with numerical growth if it’s attained despite regularly challenging members to follow Jesus’ non-negotiable call to authentic discipleship no matter the cost.
  2. Sincerity – While Jesus invested in those desiring God for who He is and not what He can do for them, most churches exhibit transactional behavior.  Services have been reduced to an hour, salvation to repeating a phrase, evangelism to extending an invitation to church, and metrics to achieving commercial objectives.  “Kingdom” and “Church” often take a back seat to “kingdoms” and “churches”.
  3. Obedience – While Jesus wants love to fuel our obedience, which is normally the case for aspiring pastors, temptations lurk once a church becomes “successful”.  We are to call no man “father”, but leaders can evolve into spiritual “fathers”.  They can begin to believe their own press and become less dependent on their Father.  Spiritual “children” of church “fathers” can be pulled away from our Father as reverence and affinity for pastors grow.
  4. Discipleship – While Jesus instructed parents to disciple their children, churches who don’t disciple members aren’t preparing them to disciple their kids.  Instead, parents drop them off at children’s ministry and youth group, counting on church to assume their discipleship role as spiritual “fathers”.  However, churches that don’t disciple adults don’t disciple children either (to ensure they have fun and want to come back next Sunday).
  5. Compassion – While Jesus treated those He healed and fed with dignity, most churches conduct local missions transactionally and paternalistically.  We are to love our neighbors year-round, but occasional outreach events that “check the box” perpetuate (rather than alleviate) poverty by fostering dependence.

Contemporary church growth models encourage treating “church” as a place, members as “customers”, worship services as events, and metrics as a business.  Pastor-led churches can look like a “genius with 1,000 helpers”, drawing attention away from the Father and toward spiritual “fathers”.

How Churches Can Position God as Father

The following are steps pastors can take to ensure they’re positioning the Father as “Father” and members as His children (not their own):

  1. Growth – Risk losing lukewarmchurchgoers and all they’ve worked so hard to build by leading like Jesus, who loved His followers enough to challenge them and hold them accountable, finding out who truly is a child of the Father.
  2. Sincerity – Disintermediate by flattening the hierarchy, equipping and empowering members to resume their rightful responsibilities for living out GC3 (Great CommandmentGreat CommissionGreat Calling) all week, not just on Sundays.
  3. Obedience – Repent of a Priest/King dichotomy.  Swim against the cultural “current” by decentralizing “Church as We Know It”, relinquishing ownership of the “priestly” role and dependence on “kings” to staff and underwrite the operation.
  4. Discipleship – Reintroduce personal and intensive discipleship, starting with leaders, but quickly multiplying through parents to children and then to families, coworkers, and communities (reaching those who wouldn’t come to your church).
  5. Compassion – Plant or support ministries year-round that serve the materially poor, risking the culture shock of welcoming into the congregation those who look little like your average member, realizing we’re all in some form of poverty.

Few church leaders would argue with that roadmap, yet it remains the road less traveled.  Prevailing church growth models encourage dependence on pastors and loyalty to church – undermining authenticity and intimacywith the Father.

It’s Your Turn…

Does your church position God alone as Father and Christ-followers as His children?

The post Does Your Church Position God Alone as Father? appeared first on Meet the Need Blog.


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My 10 Commandments For God

My 10 Commandments for God

Phil Miglioratti * Reimagine.Network

 

Context: I firmly believe in the God of Genesis 1:1 and the original 10 Commandments. I do not believe the Creator necessitates ten suggestions from me or anyone else. I do not believe a list like this provides God with new ideas. My sole (and soul) purpose is to invite readers, especiall those who are skeptical about God, to consdier these assertions as a way to reimagine God... and faith. 

  1. I want to believe in the God of all gods, the God who created the gods, if they exist. And even if there’s a God who created the God who created the Earth, that’s the God I want to believe in. The Uncreated One. The True Self. The One Way-The Only Truth-The Life Source God.
  2. I want to believe that God is real; not vapor, not chemistry nor technology, and certainly not mythology. This God would be the way to authentic truth about real life.
  3. I want to believe this God expresses omnipresence (True Self is not limited to a body in form or function), omniscience (True Self knows all  that needs knowing) and omnipotence (True Self is almighty), each from a source of pure, holy (perfect) True Love.
  4. I want to believe God makes every decision on the basis of love; a quality of love that demonstrates the beauty of the creation ("the land and the sky" of Genesis1:1) and who’s love is the guiding purpose and principle for all life; the model for all human interactions. This God cannot not love, even when destroying evil.
  5. I want to believe in a God, who is just in character and action. True Self is righteous in motivation and methods and means. This God, rightly so, abhors evil as the cancer of the spirtual life of humans.
  6. I want to believe God reveals the True Self in the majesty and beauty of every created thing and person.
  7. I want to believe in a God who is knowable, wants to be known, and initiates communication with every created being. People have an all access pass to communicate with True Self through meditation and contemplation, praise and prayer, and through fulfilling their unique purpose.
  8. I want to believe in a God who is our advocate, not an accuser, manipulator or deceiver. A rescuer who is also a redeemer, releasing us from all dis-ease, evil, and everything death-producing.
  9. I want to believe in a God, who is a judge; a judge of all that is evil. A God who will defeat evil and one day destroy it forever. This God will also offer people the spiritual surgery necessary, so that they do not die with that evil, soul-cancer disease.
  10. I want to believe in the almighty God people have no need to fear because the True Self is loving, forgiving, a source of true empowerment, and in whose presence is real peace. The True Self is the God all humans (and even creative things nonhuman) long for. If God has a name, that is The Name I will believe in, which I will pray in, and I will seek to bless and love and serve others.

 

If you can, read this list and agree with each of these “commandments” you are close to faith n the God I find in the Bible.

 

You are not searching for a religion. You are seeking, even yearning for, a relationship with the One walks with us along the way of truth that breathes life into our bodies-souls-and-spirits.

No matter what adjective you used to describe yourself (religious, political, philosophical; theist or atheist), this ancient wisdom may be a good place to (re)start:

You must trust the Lord
    and not your own judgment.

Always let him lead you,
and he will clear the road
    for you to follow.

Don't ever think that you
    are wise enough,
but respect the Lord
    and stay away from evil.

Proverbs 3:5-7

Jesus was right when he told us to "Seek God first ... live righteously ... and God will give you everything you need" (Matthew 6:33).

God is real and has revealed True Self -  "Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God (wanting truth, hope, peace, love, forgiveness, eternal life) must believe that God is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him." (Hebrews 11:6) - This God I want to believe in wants to be found . . .

 

NEXT>>>You Are Noble; So Be Generous!

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Saving the Best for Last

 

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“Usually a host serves the best wine first.

‘Then when everyone is full and doesn’t care,

     he brings out the less expensive wines.

But you have kept the best until now!”

                     John 2:10 NLT

 

 

 


My way is the best course.

     Other paths claim to bring peace, but wind up being dead-end roads.

          Evil trails look inviting, but their promised ecstasy turns into agony. 

          Believers nestling near My heart experience inexplicable tranquility.

          My wonderworks change dull days into delightful days. 

     To access Holiness Highway, you must deliberately exit Evil Track. 

          Genuine belief is more than knowing My Word—it’s doing as I say.     

          Authentic love for Me is shown only one way—obedience to My orders. 

     Obey Me, and receive a special gift—I will make Myself real to you.

     I am the Wonderful Counselor—follow My guidance, and rest easy. 

 

My truth is the best creed.

     Other teachings seem reasonable, but are deceptive and deadly.

     My omnipotence can handle anything—no problem is too hard for Me.

          My glory can be glimpsed in creation’s beauty and grandeur.      

     My omniscience can see right through you—I can read your heart.

          I know your secrets, noble intentions and sincere desire to honor Me. 

     Life’s highest truth is this—get to know Jesus Christ and get to know God. 

     I am the Everlasting Father—focus on My glory, and know reality. 

 

My life is the best celebration.

     Other lifestyles advertise pleasure, but are dangerous risks.

     The evil one steals enthusiasm, kills joy, and destroys influence.

     My vintage wine gets sweeter every day—nothing else can compare.

          It did not come cheap—I trod the winepress alone on Skull Hill.

          I paid for you with My blood—I redeemed you at a very high cost.   

     Satan gives you the best he has to offer now, and then brings out his worst.

     I give you good things now, but I am saving the best for last.

          The Lamb’s wedding feast will be a celebration that will never end.

     I am the Prince of Peace—have faith in My government, and rejoice.

 

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© By Johnny R. Almond                                                 

Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Book available on www.Amazon.com&nbsp;

 

 

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Honor Guard

 

12384998283?profile=RESIZE_400xIf your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you.
       2 Thessalonians 1:12  THE MESSAGE

I honor those who honor Me—set your heart on My reciprocal honor.

Live gracefully—relate kindly to everyone.
     Behind the scenes, all people around you fight a hard battle—be kind.
     Living the Christian life is humanly impossible—be humble.
     Count on My power to enable you to do what I ask—be strong.
     Follow My example by living a life of love—be compassionate.
     Guard against arrogance—honor Me by relying on My power.
     Above all else, love.

Think calmly—respond peacefully in all situations.
     Let Me know what is on your mind, what is troubling you—be tranquil.
     Believe the future is as bright as My promises—be confident.
     Anticipate the perfect tomorrow I have planned—be optimistic.
     Climb into My grace hammock and be at ease in My care—be relaxed.
     Guard against angst—honor Me by trusting My promises.
     Whatever happens, look forward.

Serve faithfully—reach out to the lost with heaven’s Good News.
     Share the Gospel with everyone who will listen—be concerned.
     Remind unbelieving sinners there is hell to pay—be convinced.
     Turn your good intentions into noble initiatives—be committed.
     Invite others to join you on the journey to glory—be cordial.
     Guard against apathy—honor Me by offering My pardon.
     In My service, be loyal.

Endure unflinchingly—run perseveringly until the finish line.
     When tempted to give up the fight, look again at the cross—be brave.
     When you suffer for My sake, keep walking in My steps—be faithful.
     When you feel like I have forgotten you, recall My love—be grateful.
     When you wonder if it is worth the effort, struggle on—be tenacious.
     Guard against apostasy—honor Me by copying My pattern.
     By My grace, last.

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 © By Pastor Johnny R. Almond          

Day 349, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Book available at www.Amazon.com&nbsp;

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Christian Lifestyle

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          As we talk to our God and Father about you,
we think of your faithful work,  your loving deeds, and your
continual anticipation of the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.               
                         1 Thessalonians 1:3 NLT

 

 

 

 

Faith works—it dances here and now.
    Firm reliance on your Savior naturally results in joyful acts of service.
    Realizing urgency of tasks I have assigned, you are purposefully busy.
    Taking My Word seriously, you do more than ponder—you labor.
    Believing Me, you obey Me—the connection proves your sincerity.
    Trust becomes action, turning intentions into God-honoring initiatives.
    You are My masterpiece—reflect My work in you by your life’s work.
    Remember what you are here after—I will take care of your hereafter.
    Attentively race to Christ’s reward—My smile will make it worthwhile.

 

Love obeys—it walks every rough road without giving up.
    I desire only the best for your life—live a life of love and you’ll find it.
    Love never gives up on you—never give up on Me.
    In a hateful world, revel in My love—stay near Me and find joy.
    Love never loses faith in your potential—follow Me and be your best.
    You are not yet all I want you to become—obey Me and grow up.
    Love endures through all difficulties—when life is painful, persevere.
    The Via Dolorosa was not easy—Christian living is not a cake walk.
    Continue doing My will—distinguish yourself as an authentic disciple.
    Actively respond to Christ’s redemption—this is the path of blessing.

Hope dreams—it looks forward to the Second Coming of the Messiah.
    The Advent of My Son will solve the world’s stubborn problems—
         puzzles politicians, warriors, and economists have never solved.
    Tomorrow is as bright as My promises—gaze through hope’s window.
    Your destiny is a tearless, painless, deathless, sinless place.
    The King’s reign will end sin’s nightmare—hallelujahs will echo in glory.
    Anticipate Christ’s return—then My dream will finally come true.


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© By Pastor Johnny R. Almond            

Day 348, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Book available at www.Amazon.com

 

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I made a discovery on YouTube

Phil Miglioratti @ PrayerINC.org
 
made a discovery on YouTube.
 
I bumped into a video on YouTubs someone had posted of an event I spoke at several years ago and became curious if there were others on the site I was unaware of (motivated by absolute humility, of course (:>).
 
To my surprise, I did a name search, scrolled down a list (ignoring sponsored ads and "People also watched" posts), and discovered over a dozen clips of when I preached, was interviewed, or led a seminar or workshop.
 
I was completely unaware hundreds of readers/leaders had interacted with my comments/teachings. As I was praying for the seeds those viewings planted I was reminded of:
I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
 
God brings forth new life by implanting new ideas/insights that produce a "renewing the way we think" (Romans 12:2) but we partner with the Lord together as one plants (writing, teaching, commenting) and other water (prayer support, financial gifts). Encouraging renewed-thinking leaders who impact their church are a part of our reward.
 
Please pray with me for others who will donate prayers and gifts to reach out to hundreds more pastors, prayer champions, disciplemakers, outreach catalysts,
 
Phil
 
 click to give $5 to reach hundreeds of church eladers > PrayerINC.or
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Clay Hallelujahs

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This precious treasure—light and power that now shine within us—

is held in fragile clay jars, that is, in our weak bodies.  

Everyone can see our glorious power is from God and not our own.

Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

                                    2 Corinthians 4:7, 16 NLT

 

Forever light on Christ’s face is My best portrait of Incarnate Truth.

     Light beyond light is your Center of Gravity.

     Here is the Greatest Reality you can ever ponder:

          I Will Always Be Who I Have Always Been—

               I have always loved you, and I always will.

     Get to know My Son better—enjoy the pleasure of His company.

 


Frail life of clay is a container of boundless power, an interior treasure.

     Your human body is mortal, finite, limited by space and time.

     Yet I choose to make your heart My home.

     I am Light in your darkness—the dark side cannot conquer My love.

     I am Power in your weakness—the evil one cannot vanquish My grace.

     Avoid staggering in dirty places—walk as a child of the Light.

 


Finish line is the challenge to believing perseverance in intense trial.

     Endurance is underrated—those who finish the race win My smile.

     When perplexed, pray—gaze again at My cross and hang on.

     When tempted by easier roads, refuse to compromise—soldier on.

     Do not let fatigue or criticism force you to resign—re-sign and work on!

     I remember you are weak—remember I am strong, and you will make it.

 


Forward look is the celebration of beautiful paradise, the infinite triumph.  

     Discouraged? You are headed for a sinless, deathless, painless place.   

     Disappointed by false advertising? Heaven is not too good to be true.

     Disillusioned by fleeting pleasures? Heaven is not too good to last.

     One day, in eternity, you will join saints and angels in celestial hallelujahs.

     Until then—today, in time, praise Me with clay hallelujahs.

 

 © Pastor Johnny R. Almond          12127012495?profile=RESIZE_180x180

Day 340, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Book available at www.Amazon.com

 

 

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Guest Post: #ReimagineEVANGELISM...

 

Ultimately evangelism is not the saving of America, but of Americans.  

One-on-one evangelism.

Quick Quote – Source – Jeff Hilles

 

A Biblical Christian worldview perspective – We need to build relationships with individuals.

Largely gone are the days when events like crusades effectively brought the gospel message to large groups.

In today’s culture, evangelism, faith, and discipleship are founded on the establishment of personal relationships.

 

Jeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org 

 

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Magnificent Obsession

 

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                                Sallman Head of Christ

          

           Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
                                  Colossians 3:11 NLT

 

Live victoriously—celebrate My greatness.
     I died to defeat sin; I arose to resurrect you to a new life.
     Because I rose from the dead, I can raise you above evil ways.
     Victorious over death and sin, march in heaven’s triumphal procession.
     Keep up your enthusiasm for My work—it is never a waste of time.
     One of My resurrection people, let nothing in the world get you down.

 

Think vertically—anticipate My glory.
     Searching for a better approach to life than dying with the most toys?
     Set your heart on a place moths, rust, and thieves can never touch.
     Do not be so preoccupied with things you forget your destination.
     Do not wring your hands in worry—fold them in worship.
     Walk steadily toward heaven’s gate—soon we will be face to face.
     One of My redeemed people, count on My dream coming true.

Behave virtuously—manifest My goodness.
     Making the journey from earth to heaven, watch your step.
     Run from sexual sin—look for an exit when temptation corners you.
     Learn to be content—avoid greed by gratitude.
     Get rid of road rage—be considerate of fellow travelers.
     Avoid slander, lies, and dirty language—tell the truth lovingly.
     Change your wardrobe—throw away filthy rags of your old nature.
     Rely on My Presence in your heart, and be changed from inside out.
     Make Me your Center of Gravity, and your actions will be transformed.
     Make a conscious effort to be like Me—one day you will see My smile.
     One of My righteous people, strive to be holy and faultless in My eyes.

Serve valiantly—depend on My grace.
     Rejoice at the privilege of serving Me—whistle while you work.
     Remember I am your Boss—do quality work in My Name.
     You are accountable to Me—do not worry about what others think.
     One of My representative people, always do your best to honor Me.

                                             

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© Pastor Johnny R. Almond                  

Day 347, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: Romans 9:11

“for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,”

  • God's choice was not meant to exclude, but to include! The Messiah will come from a select seed, but He will come for all (who exercise faith (Rom. 2:28-29; 4:3, 22-25; Romans 10).

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https://www.clsoionline.com

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3599217737033099

https://www.givesendgo.com/yourgenerositychangeslives

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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: 1 John 4:4

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

  • Christian's victory over sin and the devil.

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https://www.clsoionline.com

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3599217737033099

https://www.givesendgo.com/yourgenerositychangeslives

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The Superiority of Love

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While knowledge may make us feel important, it is love that really builds up the church.

Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much.

But the person who loves God is the one God knows and cares for.

       1 Corinthians 8:1b-3 NLT

 

 

 

 

 

Smart alecks feel no need for God.

     Know-it-alls never seek wisdom flowing from above.

     Proud VIPs chasing personal agendas never kneel before Me. 

     Self-sufficient do-it-yourselfers see no need of heaven’s help. 

     Knowledge swells your head . . . love stretches your heart. 

     Don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re really smart. 

     You, like all other human beings, have a lot to learn. 

     There are two lessons you need to learn very well—

          I am totally, eternally, irrevocably responsible for all.

               I am God, with wisdom found nowhere else.

          You are ultimately responsible to Me for the way you live. 

               You are not God, so you need wisdom to live rightly.

 

Narcissists feel no attraction to God. 

     Self-centered, they miss life’s true Center of Gravity.

     Wrapped up in themselves, they make a very small package.

     Concerned with their business, they have no time for Mine.

     Egomaniacal, they self-destruct in their own little world.

 

Humble believers feel love for God. 

     Proud minds resist grace . . . tender hearts receive it. 

     Recidivists run from My way . . . repentant souls cling to it. 

     Hard-hearted are ingrates . . . the forgiven sing My praises. 

     Self-reliant love themselves . . . the God-reliant love Me.   

     Humble hearts realize I know everything about them—

          habits, hang-ups, hopes;  roads untaken; unspoken words.

     The meek don’t know it all, but trust the One who does. 

     Reveling in My loving care, believers face the future joyfully.

     Holding My hand, My disciples walk the path of the best life. 

     Nestling near My loving heart, believers know real joy. 

     Following My lead, sheep of My fold find their way home. 

     Loving Me wholeheartedly, saints celebrate My Providence. 

     Giving Me all their cares, My children live carefree.   

     I know the hairs on your head, and the hurts in your heart.

     False gods do not care for you, but I do—trust Me and see. 

 

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© By Pastor Johnny R. Almond             

Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: 1 Samuel 2:2

There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides Thee, nor is there any rock like our God.

  • The strength, stability, the unchanging nature of the one true God (Ps.18:1-2; 2 Sam. 22:2)
  • God as a mighty, impregnable fortress (Ps.78:35; Isa. 44:8)

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https://www.clsoionline.com

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3599217737033099

https://www.givesendgo.com/yourgenerositychangeslives

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Living Positively

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I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.
                              Philippians 4:13 NLT


 

Be cheerful in a sad world—mute negative melancholy with unfailing music.
     Celebrate My pardon—your name is indelibly registered as a citizen of heaven.
     Celebrate My Presence—at My side, there is joy too wonderful for words.
     Celebrate My peace—the world system cannot supply it; neither can it steal it.
     Celebrate My promise, one thing that is for sure—I will never forsake you.

Be calm in a chaotic world—replace negative worry with unquestioning worship.
     The cross is a plus sign in a negative world, changing everything for the better.
     Do less “what-if” supposing, more “leaning-on-everlasting-arms” reposing.
     I am in control—in charge behind chaos scenes, orchestrating the grand finale.
     Climb into My hammock—feel soothing wind of grace, and relax in My arms.

Be careful in a careless world—overcome negative ideas with unvarying truth.
     Want to be a person of integrity? Then reflect on timeless truth.
     Want to live honorably? Then meditate on honorable thoughts.
     Do not fall for Satan’s tiring old line that it does not matter what you think!
 

Be content in a greedy world—cancel negative whining by uncommon contentment.
     Tranquility results from being, not having—contented people are truly rich.
     I am El Shaddai, the Enough God—depend on My infinite resources.
     Learn to be satisfied in all situations by treasuring your relationship to Me.

Be capable in a grueling world—conquer negative despair by unflagging optimism.
     You’re weak, but I am strong—in relationship with Me, you can cope with life.
     The power of positive praying is the source of competence.
     Quiet confidence in Me is the key to strength and the secret of perseverance.

Be confident in an uncertain world—destroy negative anxiety with undying hope.
     Let Me have all your cares, then you can enjoy a carefree existence.
     In My strength, you are ready for anything the world throws at you.
     Trust Me, then you will receive blessings you never imagined possible.

Celebrate the Dynamic Mystery residing within your heart—live positively.

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© By Pastor Johnny R. Almond                

Day 346, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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#ReimagineFutureChurch Eblast

#ReimagineFutureChurch Eblast

The Church is the answer ... But what is the question?

 

Start here>>>

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#Pastors #Church #ChurchLeadership #Prayer #Discipleship #Outreach #Evangelism #Ministry #Missional

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​#ItSeemsToMe ...
 
Th​is is The ​Story of God and ​People
 
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and people. God created a man and a woman, both DNA'd with God’s image. God declared the planet and the people were good.
 
Since the beginning God has wanted to walk with and work with the people God created.
God gave them a pristine environment to enjoy and empowered them to care for and cultivate the planet. God “walked in the garden with them.”
 
The people became focused on themselves.
-Adam and Eve disregarded God’s warnings
-Cain murdered his brother Abel
-The Babylonians erected ​a stairway-to-heaven to glorify their achievements in a way that ignored God.
… But there were ​persons who focused on being faithful to their relationship with God. Noah. Abraham​ ​ 
 
God continued to pursue relationship with the people by sending faith-driven, courageous leaders​ and prophets who clearly declared God‘s word and God‘s will and God’s wisdom​ and people who knew the power of prayer.​ Moses. ​Deborah, Ruth. David. Amos. Solomon.​ Hannah.​ 
 
People and nations continued to ignore God’s word by seeking power and control over each other; often with violence.
 
So then God did something extraordinary. God sent the people Jesus (the One of God​; the Word, the Living Expression)  to deliver us from the disease and death of evil; to declare God’s message of faith, truth, peace and love. When Jesus was crucified, he​ defeated the power of SIN (Self-worship, Independence-from-Creator, Need-driven-choices) which released forgiveness​ (a welcome into the life of God). Jesus is the ​Savior ​(revealer, rescuer) of all who believe.
 
What made this extraordinary​the  is that “God was in Christ (the Messiah: the Anointed and Appointed messenger) , making peace between the people  and himself. In Christ, God did not ​give up on us  (2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:19‬ ​). Saved. By God's grace (not by our good deeds).
 
God was motivated not by anger or a desire to punish but by love.
This is how God demonstrated his love to the people​: God gave​ the One and ​Only (one of a kind) that whoever believes in him will have eternal ​(endless; limitless) life. God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn us but to commend us to God’s love​-grace​-forgiveness​-salvation, and ​transformation through the ​guiding/coaching of Spirit; God's holy presence in our lives.
 
So, God is not inviting you to perfect attendance at a church or impressed by extravagant donations to charity.
 
God is still pursuing people. Us. You.
​"Late in the afternoon, ​a strong wind began to blow​, and the man and woman heard the Lord God walking in the garden​ and God said: "Where are you?"" (Genesis 3:8-9)
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