Fishers of Men…with Nets!

The Gospel of Mark tells us about Jesus, but it goes far beyond that in showing us what it is to be a disciple of Jesus!

One of the eye-opening things that we miss about Jesus’ calling of the disciples is that He called them to follow him in “team.” In both occasions in Mark 1, Jesus calls a pair of brothers to follow Him.  So the calling of discipleship is to a new “family” and as a team!

Beyond that, Jesus’ calls them to be “fishers of men” as His disciple. Their perspective of fishing was totally different than ours. Immediately our thoughts go to a fishing pole that “I” use to go fishing.  These first disciples thought immediately of fishing with NETS…together!
boat-before-dawn-casting-net_

One of the things we took time to do on Sunday was ask the question:

Who can you invite to be fishing with you…as a team?

So who did/can you invite to fish with you?

Would you today start a conversation about a plan for how we can reach out to others TOGETHER?

Listen to the message online here >>

Want More Focused and More Prayer? Try the Prayer Wheel

Like you, I’m desirous of more prayer…and more focused prayer. I’ve recently learned of a tool that I’m using to help me in this quest.

Mission leader and movement catalyzer Curtis Sergeant coaches North Americans to grow their prayer life by using the Prayer Wheel. I wanted to share about it here with you…and I’m starting to experimenting with it as well.

PrayerWheel-CurtisSergeant

Prayer Wheel Explanation by Curtis Sergeant [PDF]

 

Here’s a video where Curtis himself shares about Prayer:

Self-Feeding in Prayer by Curtis Sergeant of MetaCamp.

 

Jesus’ Silence and Solitude

JesusSolitudeThe priority of Jesus’ solitude and silence is everywhere in the Gospels. It’s how he began his ministry. It’s how he made important decisions. It’s how he dealt with troubling emotions like grief. It’s how he dealt with the constant demands of his ministry and cared for his soul. It’s how he taught his disciples. It’s how he prepared for important ministry events. It’s how he prepared for his death on the cross.

Jesus’ solitude is how he went deeper in his love-relationship with the God he knew as “Abba”.* Won’t you take a chronological journey through the Gospel of Mark and see where He stopped for silence & solitude?

Download/Print the Worksheet
Jesus’ Solitude & Silence

*Special Thanks to Bill Gaultiere who outlined most of this concept and content for us.  I did enhance the Bible Passages through the Gospels and made it a self-study worksheet.  You can see Bill’s article online at http://www.soulshepherding.org/2013/02/jesus-solitude-and-silence/ 

How Jesus Sends YOU

I found this post from JS Shaw on the Verge site and wanted to share it:

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21 ESV)

As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus has sent us. That means that if we can discover how the Father sent Jesus, then we will see how we have now been sent.

sentSo, how was Jesus sent?

Tweet this: As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus has sent us. So, how WAS Jesus sent? @VergeNations

The Father sent Jesus. . . .

Continue reading “How Jesus Sends YOU”

HonorShame Conversation for Happy Hour in Long Beach July 1

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HonorShame Convo for Happy Hour

Jayson Georges & Local Organizer Mike Jentes

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (PDT)

At SEKA Coffee on campus of Grace Long Beach, 3590 Elm Ave. Long Beach, CA

Have a conversation with an expert on HonorShame cultures! Jayson Georges is the missiologist-in-residence from Encompass World Partners. He will be here from Atlanta to share some of his latest learning on HonorShame cultures and how we can better sow the Gospel and grow relationships across cultures!

Continue reading “HonorShame Conversation for Happy Hour in Long Beach July 1”

Urbanization – Hope or Despair?

There is Hope for the City!
Cities will clearly dominate this century; with up to 70% of the world’s population living in an urban setting by 2050. What does this mean for reaching the lost and representing Christ? How do we deal with the paradox of urban settings that promise new opportunity but many times deliver pain and suffering?

Continue reading “Urbanization – Hope or Despair?”

On Mission in a Moving World

missiographic - On The MoveIf you have ever moved, you know the disruption it causes to your life. Now imagine millions on the move sometimes in less than ideal circumstances. Some are simply moving to start a new life, but others are under much more extreme pressures. With a background of war, trafficking, job loss and countless other disruptors, people are finding themselves in many new places. What are you doing to meet them as they move?

Personal Reflection
A great place to start on the issues that surround the global movement of people is to identify with them. Think about a time when you have been new to a place. What feelings were dominant? What opportunities and challenges did you face? Then consider the people of Israel traveling through the desert, Jesus as a young boy in Egypt and Paul sitting under house arrest in Rome. What must they have been going through? As your empathy brings you face to face with real people in these situations, ask God how you should respond in love.

Engaging the Church
Do you know which communities of immigrants are within 20 miles of your church? It is easy to end up on Spiritual journeys of “sameness”. We can neglect those who are very close by but different than we are. Start by looking online to find out which immigrant communities are nearby. Then identify some of the ministries in town who are serving those communities. Also, find out if some of the countries where you are supporting mission work globally have communities of immigrants you can also be reaching out to. Find ways to include these communities within your community of faith. How can you show them God’s love as you invite them into your midst?

God’s Characteristics from the Bible

HisCharacteristicsWhat is God like? God’s characteristics are described for us throughout the Bible. It is important for us to understand as much as we can about what the Bible says about God. Read each passage below and write out what you find out about God from the Bible verses.

To make it easy for you, each one listed is hyper-linked to Bible Gateway*:

GodCharacteristicsTable

(a picture of the chart contained in the study From Genesis to Jesus)

*Linked to the New Living Translation

Note: This list is an excerpt from Lesson 1 of a full beginners study on the Bible called From Genesis to Jesus.  It is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but a simple and comprehensive list of key characteristics of God for someone new to the Bible and the faith of Christians.

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

Shocking Statements of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew: My Top 20

Today I was reading Keith Minier’s blog and realized their church family @GracePick is just starting a series on the Shocking Statements of Jesus. ShockingStatementsMatthew

A while back I did a series on that, but just pulled statements from the Gospel of Matthew. In a quick tour of the first half of  Matthew, we outlined a list  the Top 10 Shocking Statements by Jesus. Then we continued in a second week with the second half of the book and did 10 more…so we ended up with a Top 20.

Here’s my list:

Shocking Statement #1: And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” bible.us/Matt4.19.NASB

Shocking Statement #2: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but..bible.us/Matt7.21.NASB

Shocking Statement #3: “So that you may know that the Son has authority on earth to forgive sins…Get up, pick up your mat… bible.us/Matt9.6.NASB

Shocking Statement #4: “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” bible.us/Matt9.12.NASB

Shocking Statement #5: Do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you…bible.us/Matt10.19.NASB

Shocking Statement #6: But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. bible.us/Matt10.30.NASB

Shocking Statement #7: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, & I will give you rest.” bible.us/Matt11.28.NASB

Shocking Statement #8: “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.” bible.us/Matt12.6.NASB

Shocking Statement #9: For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother & sister…bible.us/Matt12.50.NASB

Shocking Statement #10: The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls & finding one pearl… bible.us/Matt13.46.NASB

Listen to the Message on the first 10 Online
Check out the Powerpoint of the first 10 Online

Top Ten Shocking Statements by Jesus in the second half of the book.  

Shocking Statement #11:  I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. http://bible.us/Matt16.18.NIV

Shocking Statement #12: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves & take up their cross & follow me… http://bible.us/Matt16.25.NIV

Shocking Statement #13: Whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven… http://bible.us/Matt18.4.NIV

Shocking Statement #14: If your brother or sister sins, go & point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen…http://bible.us/Matt18.15.NIV

Shocking Statement #15: Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… http://bible.us/Matt20.25.NIV

Shocking Statement #16: The tax collectors & the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you… http://bible.us/Matt21.31.NIV

Shocking Statement #17: Jesus took bread broke it & gave it to his disciples, “Take and eat; this is my body.” http://bible.us/Matt26.26.NIV

Shocking Statement #18: My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done. http://bible.us/Matt26.42.NIV

Shocking Statement #19: Jesus cried out in a loud voice…My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?http://bible.us/Matt27.46.NIV

Shocking Statement #20: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…I am with you always…http://bible.us/Matt28.18.NIV

Check out the Message recording of the #11-20 online

Check out the Powerpoint of #11-20 online

 

Teaching on Resolving Conflict @LosAltosGrace

I had the privilege of teaching on Sunday @LosAltosGrace about Resolving Conflict. That very phrase, “resolving conflict,” often makes us squirm. The challenge from Sunday was to see it as “normal” and part of life which we as believer’s in Jesus are perfectly equipped to resolve. Below is a brief outline of what we covered together:

Resolving Conflict

The two key points for when we have been offended:

1) Overlook It.
Proverbs 19:11
“A person’s wisdom yields patience;it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
Sometimes when we are hurt, we can just care for it in our own heart and mind. This isn’t advocating denial, but rather emphasizing FORGIVENESS and grace.

We reminded ourselves that forgiveness means:

  • I will Not to Dwell on it
  • I will Not to Bring it Up
  • I will Not to Use it Against Someone
  • I will Not allow it to Hinder the Relationship

Bitterness is a choice, just like forgiveness.  And bitterness results from the opposite choices!

2) Reconciliation
When the relationship has been significantly damaged, then reconciliation is needed. So what do I do to reconcile?  We gave 4 Biblical principles:

  1. Glorify God – Seek first to bring Him glory, not defend yourself or prove that you are right.
  2. Get the Log Out of Your Own Eye
  3. Go and Show your Brother or Sister the fault
  4. Go and Be Reconciled!

 

View the Powerpoint Presentation online here

Listen to the message online here: Resolving Conflict.

You can find it on iTunes here

 

Thanks to the influence of Ken Sande and his book the Peacemaker:

The Multiplier Factor « Issachar Initiative | Extending the Reach of the Church

Thirteen people gather in a modest living room in central China. Their huge task is to reach and disciple an unreached people of several million. Thinking about this brave small group, we might be reminded of the boy’s bread and fish in John 6: “…how far will they go among so many?” But that small lunch was enough because Jesus brought the divine multiplier factor.

Does God have a divine multiplier factor for that team of 13 in China?

Yes, because they aren’t a team of just 13 people. One church in North America has told them: “In reality, you have 3,013 members on your team because every person in our congregation is a part of your team too. Whatever you need, ask for it from a member who is back here in our church. We’re in this together!”

The local church is God’s multiplier factor for missions today! Individuals can make a tremendous contribution to missions. Technology can have a great impact too. But the multiplier factor only comes into play when we engage the local church. Why?

1. The power multiplier

“I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it,” Jesus declared. It is the church to whom Jesus promises success as she assaults the forces of evil.

We are in a cosmic spiritual battle. Paul called the Ephesian church to stand with him in the fearless proclamation of the gospel with “all kinds of prayers” because the struggle is against the powers of darkness (Eph. 6:18-19). If the Apostle Paul was dependent on the engagement of the church, who are we to think we can go it alone?

Winning is not dependent on technology, education, political power, or money. But it is dependent on a powerful team fighting on their knees. One pastor told me with joy that when his congregation came face to face with the desperate needs of the unreached, they began to pray “BIG prayers.” Big prayers impact the church itself, the community, and yes, the ends of the earth. Only the deeply engaged local church has the potential to exponentially multiply the prayer power. Only that prayer power will go far enough, deep enough, and last long enough.

2. The leadership multiplier

Saul was a “Type A” entrepreneur, gifted and passionate to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. But in Acts 13:1-3, God pushed the pause button. In essence He said, “Wait! I want the local church, especially the leaders of the local church, to be the engine of the missions process.” The Holy Spirit speaks to the leaders of the Antioch church, “You send Paul and Barnabas.”

In the 21st century, the local church continues to be the best engine for missions engagement. Here’s what happened when one church responded:

“Our elders identified people in our church who were seriously involved in ministry and who they felt might be gifted to serve cross-culturally,” an elder in a local church in Pennsylvania explains. “We developed a two-year class, and eventually from that group, we sent a team to Cambodia. Each member struggled at times with the decision to move ahead, but they kept coming back to this fact: This isn’t an individual goal nor a decision made hastily. This is the vision of my church, and we have the full confidence of our church leaders.”

God continues to call the church to prepare and send some of its best today. But will our generation complete the Great Commission? We can’t be sure. So the local church must also, right now, be raising up tomorrow’s missions leaders. How? By involving members of every age in Acts 1:8 efforts. Missions is caught better than taught, and the church is where those with powerful vision should be incubating it!

 3. The resources multiplier

My life changed when a man in our congregation said to me, “This is the first time in decades of running a business that I ever saw any way take what I’ve learned and use it for God.”

At the time, I was directing missions in my local church and had just recruited this businessman to be part of a short-term team offering business seminars in Eastern Europe. Suddenly I realized that our church was full of people who had all different types of expertise—professional, business, hobbies, sports, etc.—that was being wasted. And most of them were not uninvolved because they were resistant. They were uninvolved because they didn’t know they were needed and they had never been asked.

To stake Jesus’ claim over every inch of this planet requires the full engagement of every member of the church. God has already built the vast variety of abilities needed into what He describes as His Body—a complex organism with an amazing variety of distinct parts. These parts are designed to work in tandem to reach common goals (Eph. 4:16).

No individual and no other organization on earth can get the job done. God has called the church to the task because no lesser institution can be successful. The local church is God’s multiplier factor. What’s God calling your church to do?

Ellen Livingood is the coordinator of All Means (www.AllMeans.org) and the president of Catalyst Services (www.CatalystServices.org). Both efforts are dedicated to multiplying the global impact of local churches.

Issachar Blogs highlight 10 Elements of the Great Commission found in Scripture. This blog relates to Element #9, Mobilizing People and Finances, based on the promise in Luke 6:38 to “give and it will be given to you,” and the command in Isaiah 6:8 to “listen to our Lord’s voice and be ready to go wherever He calls us.

 

The Multiplier Factor « Issachar Initiative | Extending the Reach of the Church.

Work Matters: A Reflection from Bob Genberg

A friend of mine, Bob Genberg read the book “Work Matters” and wrote an article for our sister church.  I was gripped by his article and how it described an orbit that is easy for us to fall into.  I thought I’d post it here for your consideration:

My bedside alarm activates and Jackson Browne’s “Before the Deluge” nudges me out of my slumber. I get up in a sleepy haze and get dressed for work. I gather my backpack, kiss my wife and daughters goodbye, and fall into freeway traffic. Another workday has begun and I’m on autopilot. Lately, I’m realizing how easily and insidiously this has become my default mode. Autopilot. The mode that understands the spoken and unspoken guidelines that shape my interactions with others. Whether this involves feigning interest when a supervisor drones on about a new pet project that is sure to be as revolutionary as the reinvention of the wheel, or replying “fine, fine,” when someone asks me how I’m doing—even when I’m struggling with personal pain and heartache. I’ve learned how to compartmentalize my life in order to make it more manageable. Perhaps to keep, as George Castanza said in a Seinfeld episode, my worlds from colliding.

Tom Nelson, in his book Work Matters, has helped me catch a glimpse of how this compartmentalization leads to a fractured worldview, fractured living, possibly a fractured soul. He points out that a proper viewpoint is essential for correct and vital living, as incorrect thinking fosters withdrawal from the world, rather than engagement in it.

Tom writes specifically about our relation to work, and lays the foundation of…   >>Read the Rest HERE

Work Matters: A Reflection from Bob Genberg | Grace Community.

5 Practical Ideas to Eat – Josh Reeves | @VergeNetwork

We often speak of living out our gospel identity in everyday rhythms of life (know the story, listen, bless, celebrate & suffer, eat, rest & work). In fact, much of what we do is not meant to add things to the schedule, but bring intentionality to the things we are already doing.

The following lists are a few practical examples of simple things you can begin doing to bring gospel intentionality to your schedule. Hopefully as you are reading through these examples it will spark ideas for your own life.

5 PRACTICAL IDEAS TO EAT

  • Start a monthly dinner night at your house that has an open invitation for anyone that wants to to join and bring people.
  • Find people in your church community who love cooking and get them to help others grow in their appreciation for fine food.
  • Set a goal to have more meals with neighbors/coworkers than you are currently having. Talk it out with your MC and get advice one what is a good starting point.
  • Make a schedule each month with the nights you want to host people for meals. Prayerfully consider who you will share a table with (neighbors/co-workers/MC family).
  • Start a supper club with people in your neighborhood or network of relationships. Have each person in the club signup to host a night. Have the host share the recipe with the rest of the group when they come over. Spend time during the meal sharing things you are thankful for building in a rhythm of intentionality into your meals together.

CONSIDER – LEVITICUS 23, MATTHEW 6:11, 26:17-30, ACTS 2:46-47, ROMANS 12:13

 

5 Practical Ideas to Eat – Josh Reeves | Verge Network.

Metaphors and the Church by Dave Guiles

DaveGuiles-Headshot
Dave Guiles

Encompass World Partners director, Dave Guiles, has been doing some intriguing study and work on “Conceptual Metaphors” and how they play a significant part in developing concepts and behavior.

Dave’s research shows that real change takes place when we are successfully introduced to new metaphors. This is true because:

1) Metaphors organize the way we think,
2) Metaphors enable us to gain new insights,
3) Metaphors create identity, and,
4) Metaphors serve as a guide to future actions.

To help illustrate this important truth, Dave explored how the self-concept of the early church was formed through the introduction of three important conceptual metaphors:

THE CHURCH IS THE FAMILY OF GOD
THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST
THE CHURCH IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

“The success of the early Apostles in establishing churches in the diverse cultural soils of their world was directly related to their ability to lead new congregations into a clear understanding and acceptance of these metaphors. Because of their importance in revealing the true nature of the church, these can be referred to as ‘essence metaphors.”

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