I am currently reading a book by Bill Hull called The Complete Book of Discipleship. When a chapter captures me with inspiration or tools I can use, I will blog on it. In the chapter called “The disciple-making environment: What makes things grow,” Bill defines love as an action designed for the benefit of others. He speaks of people imprisoned and calls those environments places to say “thank you, prison camp” for it’s ability to contribute to their spiritual growth. It refreshed me to see people embracing difficulties to be blessed to be more like our Creator. He then speaks of a phrase “Can I trust me with you?” revealing a yearning for acceptance and a safe place to be real.He says that in order to flourish we need trust, grace, humility, submission and affirmation in our environments. When we trust and as a result become vulnerable, we then are giving others permission to speak into our lives.He speaks of grace being the way we treat others and that better than they deserve to be treated. I like his sentence after that “God treats us all much better than we deserve to be treated” AMEN Lastly, Bill speaks of Paul’s example to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:3-4. I long to be a person who affirms others like Bill points out as affirmation is so very powerful and life giving. “I thank God for you. I pray for you night and day! I think about you all the time! I remember your tears! I long to see you! I am filled with joy when I am around you!!!” How incredibly intense this hit my heart. It goes beyond “I have your back” By our words and actions, my prayer is that we will follow Paul’s lead in our team building. So what makes you grow? Who are the life affirming people who speak into your life? Who might need your trust and how are you building it? Thanks for reading 🙂
One of the church plants I help out is trying to help their communities w/ oppression of women. Here’s some conversation starters What are truths from scripture?
LIES ABOUT GOD
1. God is not really good.
2. God doesn’t love me.
3. God is just like my father.
4. God is cruel and overbearing.
5. God is not really enough.
6. God’s Word is not sufficient.
7. I need someone or something more than God (food, shopping, friends, house).
8. God can’t forgive what I’ve done.
9. God’s ways are too restrictive.
10. God should fix my problems.
11. God has not come through for me.
LIES ABOUT ME
1. I am not worth anything.
2. I am not responsible for my sinful choices.
3. I can’t help the way I am.
4. I can sin and get away with it (no reaping and sowing).
5. Someone else is responsible for the way I am.
6. It’s ok to do what I need to do in order to get my needs/longings met.
7. I should not have…
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I have been reading & researching a lot on evangelism. Sharing my faith is a lifestyle for me and I want to help others enter into living intentionally. Here in LA I have been attending a lot more of a variety of denominations than I ever did when I lived in Michigan. Each group has their strengths and most have their preference as to how they go out to the lost in their communities. Some of the poorer communities are used to gathering in groups so it seems reaching out to others through relationships are easier for them. With resources limited they are more likely to not use costly methods. I have used gospel tracts, investigative Bible studies, street preaching and relational evangelism while here. I believe that serving people with the intent to have them know God personally has it’s value. Unfortunately I have seen people never take the next step after serving people to enter into a discussion on their eternal life. Then it becomes more of a social work. When I want God to use me in people’s lives, it makes sense to me to be equipped with gospel tracts to help guide the conversations. I am a person who genuinely cares about others wellbeing. It would be easy to listen to others and feel their pain and ultimately not offer them any hope. When I first got here in LA, I was limited in my written materials/tools I use. In just talking to people I would easily invite them into talking about what’s really going on in their head. I guess God made me to be a safe person, so people trust me with their feelings. Offering hope to people is a privilege God has entrusted to us as Christians. People I meet are thirsty to know truth. God’s Word is truth. It has the ability to change people from the inside(what they believe) to their outside(how they behave). I am not sure if people understand the power behind a testimony as a lot of people share their story without sharing verses from the bible. Sometimes it appears then that it’s all about the person rather that about Jesus. God’s Word does not go out in vain. It will accomplish what it was ment to do…like making people thirsty for God. It’s God’s Word that makes our lives salty and attractive. Reading the Word, sharing the Word, hiding it in our hearts.
So one of the ways to share the gospel with people is to consider their spiritual background. If they have a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness background, it’s good to talk about grace being how we enter into a relationship with God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Both of these religious groups are merit or works based. They have to witness a certain amount and keep track of it to report their good standing to their leaders. When you speak of God’s favor being based on a relationship through Jesus’s death on the cross and the unconditional love offered to us. It speaks volumes to these works based groups. These verses have the ability to break down spiritual walls or strongholds in their life. It would be similar to what Paul did to the various crowds of people he spoke to in the book of Acts. Speaking into their culture strongholds with truth paved the way for the truth of the gospel to penetrate their hearts
So with the people you are reaching out to, what are their stronghold or walls that keep them from receiving the Truth of the gospel? What bible verses would help breakdown the lies that hold their walls together?
Pic from Hope4Tampa
Pray for our Muslims Neighbors
Version 1.1 5/28/2014 – http://www.EthnicEmbraceUSA.net
1. The Quran, Islam’s holy book, begins with a prayer: “Guide us to the straight path” – a prayer of seeking
the path that leads to salvation. Jesus (Isa) said that He alone was the way, the truth and the life. Isa alone provides the “straight path” that leads to life. PRAY that Muslims might receive the Good News with gladness, putting their faith in Jesus as the “straight path” they seek.
2. Muslims believe that Isa, according to the Quran, is a wonderful, humble, generous messenger of God
who came down and revealed God’s words to his people. The Quran says Allah (Arabic for God) sent
“the Gospel (Injil) before this, as a guidance…” PRAY that Muslims would understand that Jesus is the Living Word who came to reveal the truth of God’s love for them.
3. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, spoke of the resurrection of Isa: “Isa said…’And peace was on me the
day I was born, and peace will be on me the day I shall die, and the day I shall be raised up to life again.’
That was Jesus, son of Mary. This is a statement of the truth…” PRAY for Muslims to know the resurrection power of Jesus and put their faith in the Risen Savior.
4. Muslims have been taught that the Bible has been corrupted, however the Quran says: “He sent down
to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming all previous scriptures, and He sent down the Torah and the
Gospel.” It is an affront to Muslims that anything of God’s can be corrupted and many Muslims when
they begin to read the Bible discover the Truth of God’s Word. PRAY Muslims would be opened to read the Bible so that they might discover the Gospel is for them.
5. Many Muslims are having dreams of Jesus and are coming to faith through these dreams. There are
documented testimonies of this happening around the world and even in the USA. PRAY that these dreams would increase for Muslims revealing to them the King of kings and the Lord of Lord who is Jesus Christ.
6. Many Muslims are open to having spiritual conversations when they arrive in the USA. Many want to know about and understand Christianity but they view the decadent American culture as Christian.
PRAY that Muslims might encounter a faithful witness to the righteousness, grace, love and salvation that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Pray For the Church:
7. It is reported that most Muslims do not know a Christian, or have a Christian friend, but it is the
call of Christ followers to be “Welcomers” of foreigners in our nation. PRAY that many
Christians would understand the Biblical call to welcome the strangers next door so that they
become strangers no more. Exodus 22:21, 23:9, Leviticus 19:23-24, Matthew 25:35
8. There is a clear anti-Muslim bias in the USA, including among many Christians, but it is our call
as Christ followers to love even our “enemies.” On the other hand, over 96% of Muslims who
come to faith say it was because of the love of a Christian. PRAY that Christians would receive a
supernatural love for Muslims so that they might come to know the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Matthew 5:43-44, Luke 6:27, 1 John 4:7
9. There are at least 30 Muslim people groups in the USA with populations greater than 8,500, and
many smaller groups, representing an estimated Muslim population of 2.3 million today. It is
the command of Christ that they are reached with the Good News of Jesus Christ. But many
Muslims live without this saving knowledge because Christians remain unsure of how to share
their faith cross-culturally. PRAY that many more Christ followers would understand their call and get equipped to share the love of Jesus effectively with Muslims. Matthew 24:14, Mark 16:15
10. There are over 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, representing a large portion of the remaining
task of Unreached People Groups of the world. Many of these Muslim peoples live in “closed”
countries with little or no access to the Gospel. But Jesus commands his followers to go into all
the world to make disciples of all nations. PRAY for many more Christians to rise up in boldness,in the power of the Spirit, to go out into the hard to reach places with the Gospel. Matthew 28:19-20,Acts 1:8 Can you add to or improve these prayer points? Please email email@example.com with any edits or suggestions.
“For it is for this we labor & strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers” 1 Timothy 4:10
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Truth About Thoughts taken from Freedom In Christ Ministries
Blasphemous Thoughts – 2 Cor10:4-5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
Condemning Thoughts – Rom 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Confusing Thoughts – 1 Cor.14:33 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
Fearful Thoughts – 2 Tim 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. NKJV Rom 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ” Abba! Father!”
Haughty (prideful) Thoughts – Phil 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Lying Thoughts – Eph 4:25-26 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. John 8:44-45 ” You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Obsessive Thoughts – Phil 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension (need to figure it out), will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Negative Thoughts – Rom 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Jealous Thoughts – James 3:14-16 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
Thoughts of Guilt and Shame – Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”—Heb 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Suicidal Thoughts – John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. Luke 9:56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”]
Fantasy Thoughts – Acts 17:24-27 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,
Ps 139:1-6 O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. 3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. 5 You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Perfectionistic/Legalistic Thoughts – 2 Cor3:5-6 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Unprotected Thoughts – 2 Thess3:1-3 Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2 and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
Religious Thoughts – Gal 1:6-10 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
Thoughts of Regret – Jer 29:11-12 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Distracting Thoughts – 1 Peter 1:13-14 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Defensive Thoughts – 1 Peter 5:6-8 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
Angry Thoughts – Eph 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
People Pleasing – Gal 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
Thoughts of loneliness – Rom 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
RESOLVING HYPOCRISY from the Freedom In Christ Ministries
Check each way, either in the past or present, that you have pretended outwardly something that is not true inwardly.
Pretending to obey parents while being inwardly rebellious.
Criticizing other’s failures when my spiritual problems are similar.
Pretending to care for others while being bitter, resentful and angry.
Saying one thing with my lips outwardly, but thinking differently in my heart.
Saying I love someone when, in reality, I really hate them.
Only telling the things about myself that I want others to know, instead of what is true.
Being afraid of what others would think if they knew what I was like on the inside.
Projecting myself as having it all together (no problems) out of fear of rejection from others.
Dishonesty in sharing my weaknesses with others for fear of being rejected.
Lying about things that happen, to cover up what I do.
Lying to gain the acceptance of others.
Identifying the problems that others have but not seeing my own. Matthew 7:5
Asking others to do things I am unwilling to do (i.e. clean house, wash dishes, etc….
Pretending to be close to God, when not desiring or enjoying a relationship with Him.
Practicing religious activity to be seen and praised by men. Matthew 6:2,5,16
Pretending to be excited about fellowship with other believers, when in reality only wanting to impress them with my spirituality.
Giving money to gain the praise of men. Matthew 6:2
Praying to impress others with my spirituality. Mathew 6:5
Fasting to impress others with my spirituality. Matthew 6:16
Pretending to be excited about service for the Lord, when merely doing it out of obligation.
Pretending to live a holy life, but inwardly wishing I didn’t have to.
Pretending to be a spiritual person when I’m really not.
Saying I love God, but not obeying what He commands in His Word. Luke 6:46
Saying I have an intimate relationship with God, but seldom seeking Him in prayer.
Obeying God because of a fear of what others will think of me.
Making spiritual decisions based on other’s expectations of me.
Pretending to have pure moral thoughts while yielding to lustful thoughts.
Telling my spouse I am morally pure when being unfaithful in desires, thoughts or actions.
“Lord, I acknowledge and renounce my hypocrisy as evidenced through my (item checked above). I thank you for your forgiveness for my hypocrisy and choose to respond with openness, truthfulness and honesty from my heart.”
“I was born in North Korea. This is my way of helping to get the gospel back to my countrymen,” she told CBN News.
This is how the balloon Bible smuggling works: A hole in the balloon is filled with helium. A strip of tape is placed around it and then of it goes into the skies of North Korea.
“The helium will leak out of the balloon and eventually fall to the ground,” Duk explained. “And when someone picks it up, they’ll be able to read all 16 chapters of the book of Mark.”
In the past, Peter used boats with other groups to launch balloon offensives from the sea. These balloons are larger and contain a small radio, a Bible, and other Christian literature.
“Ok, this is not the most sophisticated or high-tech method,” he acknowledged. “But when you are dealing with a country that is restricted, very secretive, and punishes its citizens, we have to try something to get hope to them.”
“By sending these balloons, we let our North Korean brothers and sisters know that we are praying for them and the scriptures on the balloons are meant to encourage them,” one undercover believer said
from CBN News George Thomas