Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mealtime Devotions by John Avery Whittaker

Meal Time Devotions:

It might be targeted for kids, but it goes a lot farther than that. A wonderful book to get you started on the right conversation.

In today's world. Sitting at the dinner table is a rare thing indeed. With our busy schedules. Work, school, church, social events, family events, work around the house and others. Dinner has become more of a pit-stop than a family gathering.

The original purpose of this book is to get your family talking about the spiritual matters that count. To help prepare our children to face life's matters God's way. With that said, I personally am using this book for an entire different purpose.

I am responsible for my church's Men's Ministry. Getting a group of men together is much more difficult than even getting your family together at the dinner table. Early morning is usually out of the question due to work and family. After work is even harder. So what do you do?

One of the best ways for men to meet is at a local restaurant after work for about 45 minutes to an hour at best. After work we are tired and hungry. Meal Time Devotions is the perfect lesson plan for us. Prayer, Appetizer, Main Course, Table Talk, then some Vitamins and Minerals. The issues affecting our youth are very similar to what we as men are facing in today's busy backwards world. The easy to follow format of this book makes leading the group a breeze.

Table Talk, open discussion is key to a productive Bible study group, in my opinion. We sit down during Sunday School and listen. We listen to the Sunday sermon. This is a chance to ask questions and discuss what is going on in our lives while keeping God the focus of the discussions.

Though I am using this book for an entire different purpose, it works just as easy with a group of men as it will with your family or any group gathering. Easy and compact to carry around in your back pocket. Youth Ministers wold benefit greatly by using this book too.

Vitamins and Minerals is the closing session. Leaving everyone with God's Word to follow for the rest of the evening and/or week. This book is a wonderful tool.

Teach, Preach and Reach!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Post Easter Week

Post Easter Week:

Jesus is knocking on your door.
Well Easter has come and gone this year. Last week, prior to Easter Sunday, my mailbox was filled with invitations from churches all over town asking us to come to their special Easter Sunday service. A few days after, it seems all things are just as they were. Like it will be another year until they, the churches, seem to get excited about going to church again. Sad commentary I know.

I was please today though. One church, actually from out-of-town, sent a card re-inviting us to church for their series on Joseph. I am impressed. Someone was thinking outside the box. Or is it that someone out there really cares about delivering the Good News about Jesus?

I know from experience that most churches have very little money to spend on advertising. But is it really advertising? We are not selling Christ or widgets. It is called OUTREACH! What did Jesus tell us before He ascended back to Heaven?

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt 28:18-20 (NLT)

The key word here is “GO.” Yes, it costs money for printing materials and mailing not to mention the work involved in creating such postcards, newsletters and flyers. I was once a member of a very large church in town. Even before I became a member I had seen their yearly budget sheet. Out of nearly a half a million dollar a year operating budget, all they ever budgeted for new member ministry was 150 dollars. It was that way from 2004 through 2012. Surprisingly most churches are like that. After utilities, insurance and labor costs there is not much left over. Sounds like a sad business model. Therein lies the rub. Too many churches are ran as if they were a business. Looking to stay within budget. They even pat themselves on the back for doing so. Is that what Jesus told us to do?

Imagine for a moment that you or I or especially the church had to give a report to Jesus. We would tell him that we are keeping the doors open. The lights on. Working on getting our Sunday School attendance numbers up. Attendance is down, but we are working on that. What does Jesus tell us?

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matt 6:21 (KJV)

If that verse does not gut you like it does me. I do not know what to tell you. That verse applies to us individually and should be the role model for all churches to follow. Sadly they do not. Sadly we do not. We are all guilty before God no matter how hard we try otherwise. That's the point and why we need Jesus.

We can treat each Sunday as if it is Easter Sunday. Why not? For that matter we should treat each day as if it were Easter Sunday. Jesus took my punishment. Paid my fine. Fulfilled my penalty for the law.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (KJV)

We need to teach God's Word among ourselves first!
Before we as a church can share Jesus with others, we must first be able to share Christ among ourselves. Encourage one another during the week. With a phone call or a text message. Perhaps an email or a post on FaceBook. Yes, prayer is first. The power of prayer has no limits. This I know from personal experience.

The time is long overdue for ACTION. The same action churches use before Easter Sunday need to be continuous week after week. Just last week a friend and brother in Christ came by my house. He was visiting all the homes in the neighborhood. He is now at a different church as am I. The difference, he is out there for Jesus. Doing it. Action!  

Teach, Preach and Reach! 

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