Thoughts on Thanksgiving

GiveThankstoYouThis morning, I just typed “thank*” into my Bible’s search engine and began to scroll through 100+ places where the word is used.  One in particular made me take pause. Here are some lyrics of a song which was written to praise our God:

All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
To make known to the children of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

We see that it is good to thank and speak praises about our God to others. Not only is it good for us, but all of creation will thank Him (yes, that is what “all of Your works means”)!
Sometimes we think it is enough to just be thankful in our minds and hearts. I tend to be in that place and continue to have my faith be deep, but muted. This Psalm really challenged me to open my mouth and speak aloud about the greatness of our God and His Kingdom!
Won’t you take the opportunity this weekend to “speak of the glory of God’s Kingdom” or “talk of God’s power” or “make known to children God’s mighty acts”?  That is what blesses our God!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Jump In: Amazing Things Happen by Joe Caruso

In short, when Joshua was leading the Israelite people into the land God had promised them, they had come to a point where they needed to cross the Jordan River in its flood stage.  The Ark of the Covenant, the key item that symbolized the presence of God, was carried by the priests into the river and the water stopped flowing so that all of the people could cross on dry land.  Incredible.

The lesson of this story?  Amazing things happen in the river.  Not on the ledge, not with toes in the water, but when you’ve jumped in.  We often think, “God, hey, you do something awesome to prove you’re in this, and then I’ll get involved.”  That is not faith, and God very rarely operates this way.  God would say, “Have faith in me – jump in – and I will show up in powerful ways.  You have to jump in to see what’s amazing.”

jump-in

We see it over and over again.  “Noah, build an ark.”  “Moses, approach the most powerful leader on the planet and give him the what for.”  “Joshua, walk around this city for 7 days.”  “Gideon, take less guys and grab some jars.”  “David, yeah you – the teenager – go grab 5 stones.”  “Daniel, pray even when it’s illegal.”  “Peter, leave your nets and livelihood behind and follow me.”  And EVERYTIME, God did what He promised.  He shows up.  He delivers.  He takes care of business.  He transforms the lives of those involved and of those impacted.

We need to get our toes out of the water.  Did God intend for us to just be slightly better versions of humankind?  Did He intend for us to just be more civilized?  To do the same thing year after year, after year, after year…

Or did God intend for us to be a part of something supernatural?  Of something impossible, awesome, and dream-worthy?  If this is it, then He calls us to jump in the river.  Otherwise, we’ll “miss it” and faith will be boring.  It will be same old vanilla day-to-day, and we’ll call it “walking with Jesus.”  Of course, in reading the scriptures, it doesn’t seem like walking with Jesus was very boring.  It seemed, well, impossible, awesome, dream-worthy, and supernatural.  Why should we expect much different?

How do we jump in?  Get involved in the inner-city.  I don’t mean look for a semi-annual project, I mean jump in and get involved.  Watch a kid’s life change because you and Jesus connect with them consistently over the next months and years really loving them.  Invest in the lives of those around you that are exploring Jesus or those that are completely lost.  Check out the roundtable discussions coming soon on how we can work together in ministering to the homeless and those locked into human trafficking nightmares.  Start believing Jesus’ words that “where your treasure is, your heart is also” and give to his kingdom work – the church, local partnerships, or missions.

Break the staleness of normalcy, and jump in.  Your best years are NOT behind you.

____

Thanks to the always insightful Joe Caruso.
Article reposted from the GiveItAway Blog of Grace Church

How to Begin a Conversation With an International by Jay Bell

The key to beginning a conversation is breaking the sound barrier!”

ConversationOne way to identify someone from another country is by their accent. I sometimes preface the following questions with this statement: “I hear an accent and it sounds wonderful to my ears. At times I will continue the “accent approach” by saying “I can only speak English with my native-born accent. Your accent is unique. I like it.”

1. May I ask you a question?” (I’ve asked this question hundreds of times and I have never been turned down. The reason? You are showing interest in them).

2. What is your name? Be sure to learn how to pronounce it correctly. Respond by giving your name.

3. Where were your born? (If possible, say something about their country. If you’ve never heard of their country, that’s okay, simply ask them where it is located. Either way you are showing interest.)

4. How long have you been in America?

5. What family members are back in your country?

6. How often do you communicate with them?

7. How are they doing?

JayBell-Intl8. Are you married?

9. What is the name of your spouse?

10. Do you have any children?

11. What are their ages?

12. How many languages do you speak?

13. What are some of the differences between your country and America?

14. What has been the biggest adjustment since arriving in the U.S.?

15. Have you experienced any prejudice?

16. What needs do you have?

17. Has anyone said these words to you, “Welcome to America?”

At this time I will take their hand, look at them in their eyes, put a smile on my face, allow the love of God to control my heart and say, “Then is give me the honor to be the first to say to you “Welcome to America.”welcome-to-america

[ Also, welcome them to your city. ]

Be ready for a joyous response! I’ve had people shake my hand, fall on me, hug me and even kiss me.

May God use you to be a blessing to his created nations!

Download /Print this worksheet (PDF)

 

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Thanks to Jay Bell for training thousands of people to “break the sound barrier” especially with Internationals.  This Resource was posted on Encompass World Partners website at the following link

Behind the “Goers” – What did the Church do in the Book of Acts?

book_of_actsI just wanted to share with you a little Bible study that was enlightening to me.  In reading through the book of Acts, I looked at the back story…not the leading characters who were “going” but the churches and believers who were literally behind the scenes.  I then compiled all these “incidental” verses which survey what happened “Behind the Goers.”  I thought there were some interesting things to be uncovered.

What did the church do? You will see it for yourself in these verses!

Examine for yourself the support and relationship that sending / receiving churches had in the story.

Download / Print “Behind The Goers” (PDF)

 

Multi-ethnic Church Conference comes to Long Beach!

Mosaix with Rosa & Jesus

Mosaix with Rosa & JesusThis week, I participated in the largest multi-ethnic church conference in the USA. More than 1,000 registrants descended upon the Grace Brethren Church of Long Beach, CA for the Mosaix 2013 Conference.

From main sessions, to workshops, to side bars and conversations, this event on November 5-6 pushed forward the need for church in North America to become more multi-ethnic… Read more from Encompass online here

Report from GraceConnect

Report from Exponential

See the Tweets at #mosaix2013

Mosaix founder Mark DeYmaz article “Cross-cultural Across The Street”

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