Bora Kosa - Kufanya Outreach Alone na Steve Sjogren

mistake(From time to time in Serve I am going to post Excellent Mistakes I have made in outreach over the years. These are “excellent” mistakes because I have learned from them and our typical step of progression is “Two steps forward, one step backward.” Thus, we are making progress in dropping the ball!) Of course we are able to do outreach on our own. We ought to be willing to do significant acts of outreach apart from our need for a team. There is plenty we can do that is accomplished just by ourselves. However in the long run that policy is going to lead to burnout. We will quit if we seek to be a one-person outreach team. We just aren’t wired to do this stuff apart from connecting with others who are similarly wired to us, with both our weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Fire left alone has a tendency to go out rather quickly. This is just as true in the spiritual world as it is in a physical realm. We need others who are going the same direction as us in outreach. It is vital that we team up with others who have a similar heart. You can’t go it alone in outreach. You need at least a couple of others to team up with you in order to do this for the long haul. The question is How can we move forward to make it for the distance? How can we proceed in a way that is going to endure? Sprinting down the path for a short bit is simple enough. Many can do that. To make it for a marathon distance takes some careful strategy. Jesus calls us to give our entire lives to his cause, for the rest of our lives. This is a matter of the lordship of Jesus.

Pray. Ask God to supply a sidekick or two. Jesus said, “The fields are white unto harvest. …Pray the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers.” The beginning point is simply to ask God to show up. Jesus also said, “Wherever two or more are gathered in my name there am I in their midst.” There is something unfathomably powerful about having our focus on the Lord Jesus. He delights in showing up in our midst when we aim at lifting him up. “If you agree on anything…I will do it.” Amazing power is unleashed when we pray.

Look. Don’t forget to look for the supply of God. He might be in your midst right now doing something great even as you complain and are depressed. A key to progress is having the wherewithal to notice the move of God in both the obvious and the obscure. Pray for truth-tellers to come alongside you to speak words of obviousness to you. Sometimes childlike people will come as a gift to you with the ability to speak plain truth to you. Receive such people with enthusiasm. Take their words to heart.

Start. In the film Forest Gump, Forest begins to jog full-time for reasons not even he understands. He just feels it is important to go for a run, a long run! He runs across the entire United States. When he arrives at one coast he decides to run back the opposite direction again. He doesn’t stop this routine for several years. Forest runs alone for a while, but people start to hear about his run and believe there is something innately spiritual about his trek and slowly other joggers join him. Before long a cadre of fellow runners surround him wherever he runs.
Outreach (and much of leadership!) follows this pattern. Momentum begets momentum. We may not fully understand what we are doing. That’s just fine. Don’t wait until that ethereal point happens. It never will! Just start. Momentum is what life is all about. Without momentum you are either dead or quickly on your way to being dead. Progress happens as you proceed in a willingness to take a stab at the future. Ready, FIRE, Aim.

That’s your mantra from now forward.We need one another in order to do outreach for the long haul. God is going to provide our coworkers. Look for them, but thank him in advance for the amazing team he is sending.

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Mimi alikuwa na furaha ya mkutano Steve Sjogren katika mkutano wa yeye kufadhiliwa katika Kings Island Inn katika 1989. Ningalipaswa kitu ilikuwa up wakati mimi waliopotea moja ya yangu 2 mbele meno kuanzisha vifaa vya sauti (hadithi kwa wakati mwingine, but feel free to insert your favorite hillbilly joke here. That began a decade’s long friendship. The coffee we shared spurred great conversations and stories from Steve. His passion helped me both recognize where God had already been developing a servant’s heart in me and inspired me to begin intentionally leading others to love those around us. Here is one of the lessons I have learned that keeps me in the game 25 years later.

This was something I first heard from Steve, but it has played out in one way or another in every project I have participated in. “When you move into servant evangelism you will bump into Murphy’s Law…no, you will move into Murphy’s country!"

It seems that loving your neighbor as yourself is actually difficult – that all that can go wrong tends to go wrong. It’s weird – it didn’t seem so hard when Jesus talked about loving our neighbors.

I actually thought I was getting off easy! Every time we choose to trust Jesus and operate in the gift of the Spirit, LOVE (yes singular, because absolutely every follower of Jesus gets this one!) the Enemy is right there to make sure we don’t like it. If we did like it, we might recognize God’s power is revealed in love, and we might start to share it like it made a difference and actually change the world. To prevent this, our enemy makes sure that Murphy’s Law is powerfully at work through various circumstances, ordinances, personalities and attitudes from the get go so we are frustrated from the get go.

Murphy showed up at the very first outreach I did with Steve at the Cincinnati Vineyard. They were hosting a free carwash (that actually was free—back in the day when that was novel) at Jenny’s Sports Bar on Route 42. I jumped in with both feet and started working hard. I got hot enough that spring day to shed my t-shirt (not nearly as terrifying an image 25 miaka iliyopita) as I pressed into washing fenders, hoods and bumpers. As we began to clean up I started looking for my white t-shirt, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I finally wandered over to the rag pile and there it was. Someone had used it to polish brake dust from at least a dozen rims. I wrung it out and considered this reward for my labor. Later though 2 stories circulated that made me realize that I would gladly give my shirt every time we served to see God’s love revealed like that.

That experience helped me realize that to deal with Mr. Murphy and not give up we must be both hard and soft. We must be hard to keep serving for the long haul. Hard to the outreach realities of circumstances, ordinances, personalities and attitudes that Murphy employs. Dealing with Murphy requires that we develop a callous over the part of our heart that wants to be right, wants to be in control, wants to look good and most of all be successful. The bad news is that callous is developed the way all good callouses are – through repeatedly being pressed down, pushed on, rubbed and scraped. In a deep sense we need to become hard to the awkward feelings of being foolish, unappreciated and embarrassed. I believe this sacrifice is a pleasing fragrance to our God. If we can grow hard, develop this ability to embrace Murphy, we can enjoy a long season of loving our community into relationship with Jesus.

We must also stay soft. Soft to the voices of those we are serving and those we are serving with. The breath of fresh air for me in this discipline of reaching out in service is the stories that capture a moment in the transformation process. Make time to listen every time you are serving. Whether it is a debrief over food after an event with your co-laborers or stopping your “kindness” to listen to one of the people you are working so hard to reach. Their stories are the catalog of the Holy Spirit’s work in and through you, in a tangible way, the very coming of His kingdom. Don’t be distracted by your work and miss this sweet fruit. As these stories are shared, they create energy for us to continue to reach out.

Love Strong.

Wakati Mtumishi Uinjilisti Huwa mara kwa mara na Marty Boller

outreachMimi nina uhakika wakati neno 'mtumishi uinjilisti' kwanza kufika katika mchezo. Katika siku za mwanzo wa harakati Vineyard, Steve Sjogren ilikuwa ni sauti ya kwanza mimi kusikia kuzungumza juu ya kulenga kanisa jamii nzima ya kuzunguka wazo la kuwahudumia nje kupitia vitendo, vitendo husika ya wema. Vineyard My kanisa katika Cedar Rapids, Iowa has been actively involved with servant evangelism for much of our thirteen years of our existence. Katika 1998, when we started our church, it was common for our small church planting team to be involved in SE events nearly every weekend.

We did free car washes, free water bottle giveaways, free neighborhood leaf-raking, free carnations to moms on Mother’s Day, free snow shoveling, etc. etc. It was common back then that when a new person started coming to our church, we knew they were staying when we saw them at our next giveaway! And while I can’t deny that we did these servant evangelism events in our earliest days because we were trying to plant a new church, over time I believe some of us actually caught the SE bug and decided it was a good thing to do even when it wasn’t all about building a new church. In truth, as I see it, servant evangelism should never be about planting or building a church, but about simply loving people we don’t know. And as Steve Sjogren has so often taught us over the years, words just can’t express how thrilling it is to give something away with no strings attached.

But isn’t it interesting that over time, we Christians can take something that is at its’ core something new and fresh and make it into a routine, or worse yet, a church project? And so it becomes with many churches as we grow and get into facilities of our own. As I look back, I see how my church went from having a ‘freely-received-freely-given’ attitude about servant evangelism to a programming mode that can make SE all about growing our church and measuring for results. Sadly, as we grow larger, the concept of random acts of kindness tend to evolve into highly-developed, well-planned-out programs of servant evangelism. And somehow, someway, the true joy of doing SE for the right reasons is nearly lost.

Today, as I write these words, I’m praying about what it might take in our well-established church to once again return to the carefree, light-hearted spontaneous SE giveaways we once enjoyed when we were smaller. I’m guessing there might be other pastors out there who share that same dream. In recent weeks, I’ve been blogging about what type of changes might need to happen in my thirteen-year-old church in order to get back to the joys of doing simple Kingdom outreach ministry just because Jesus loves it that way. Join me at my blog and chime in on some of your ideas as well. Together with God’s help, I believe we might just see a fresh wave of SE, for His Name’s sake!

4 Hatua hiyo Guard dhidi ya burnout na Steve Sjogren

Burnout mara kwa mara ni tatizo na mtu yeyote ambaye fika nje. Yesu alikuwa katika hali ya karibu daima uhamasishaji katika huduma yake ya miaka mitatu ili aweze kupatikana ni muhimu kuchukua juu ya idadi ya mawazo ili kuishi na ubinafsi wa kiroho. Hapa ni wachache pointi ya Yesu ya maoni unaweza kupata kutia moyo.

Define for your assignment.
Invite God to clarify the specifics of your calling. Listen in. Take notes. God tends to speak the most clearly to me in two settings – as I wake up and as I drive. A friend suggested someone drive me around and I take short naps throughout the day in order to hear from the Lord a lot. Maybe we can try that sometime. Figure out what your primo setting is and reproduce that as often as you can. God is more interested in speaking to you than you are in hearing from him.

Focus on the outcome.
It’s easy to grow frustrated with the burdens and details of the present. We frequently hear encouragement as to the importance of aiming on the immediate only. When it comes to outreach it’s not that way. There are times when it is best to look ahead. Scripture says that Jesus endured hardship for the joy that was set before him. We are wise to follow his lead.

Flow…Give Up On Struggling
One of the most frustrating assignments in the world is the sense that we are responsible to create a spiritual result. We are incapable of making something happen in the spiritual realm – that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Our role, like Paul’s, is to plant and water what God has already begun in others’ lives. Walk in sensitivity to what God is up to. It’s usually not all that difficult to see what he’s up to. Go where the joy, the passion, the energy is. It is exciting to be in the midst of where the Spirit is at work. Find that sweet spot and live there.

Be unique.
Look for the specifics God has for you whether you’ve seen anyone else walk there or not. Perhaps there are new approaches to ministry God has in mind for you to carry out that no one else is doing. Be bold! You may think you need permission to step out. In many cases that’s not the case. You’d be surprised how often those you think you need to clear things with will be overjoyed when you simply try something new then show them the results afterwards. Nearly always you’ll receive a standing ovation!

Masomo kutoka Cat Stubby…nudging wengine kwa Kristo na Austin Cooper

Mimi kukubali kwamba mimi kutumika kwa chuki paka. Mimi kamwe kuelewa kwa nini mtu bila wanataka mnyama ngozi 20 masaa ya siku na hisses saa wewe nyingine 4 masaa wakati anaamua neema kwa uwepo wake. I see all the “cute” kitten pictures girls post on Facebook and all I can think is “You need a dog in your life.” Strangely enough though, my perceptions of cats have taken a complete 180 turn in the past several months due to a stray cat named Stubby that visits our house from time to time. Stubby has not only done well for his entire species, but he has highlighted a great truth that too many of us as Christians forget: Genuine small acts of love push people toward Christ no matter how far away they are from His Grace.

Stubby started coming to our doorstep early this winter and I wanted nothing to do with him. My wife and I would sometimes put out some scrap food for Stubby. He would eat it and then go his way. I liked his lack of neediness but one night it got down to 20 degrees outside so I agreed to let him in for about an hour, but no longer. While he was in our house he was playful, well behaved, clean, and actually showed his love toward us with many small gestures. After his hour was up I kicked him outside with some warm towels that he could shelter under. A week later cold weather returned and Stubby was at our door waiting for us when we got home. This time I agreed to let Stubby stay the entire night. At about 3 am I woke up to a shifting of weight at the foot of our bed. Stubby had cuddled up and was purring more than any cat I ever heard before. All of my instincts told me “KICK HIM OFF”, but I decided to let him stay. Time and time again this has happened and now when we come home Stubby is usually waiting for us doing backflips for us to come in. I have bought him play toys, I let him stay whenever he wants, he has met all of my friends, I have bought him Meow Mix, and yes I let him sleep in our bed whenever he wants. I am officially still a dog man, but little experiences over time with Stubby has me rethinking how I view cats because now I can truly say I love Stubby and look forward to seeing him every day. At first I didn’t understand what was happening, but now I see it clearly. Stubby was working a plan. Bit by bit, Stubby was nudging me toward a relationship with him.

This experience teaches a great lesson about how we as Christians need to reach out to the Lost.

There are many people in this world who are not yet ready to accept Christ. They are “Not-Yet Believers.” They are open to a gesture of kindness and love that can nudge them closer to being ready to accept Christ. Recently, I’ve heard pastors use the analogy of golfers on a golf course to represent those who are on a journey toward coming to Christ at various points of readiness to accept Christ. Some golfers are right on the green and ready to putt their ball into the hole (accept Christ), while others are so far away from the hole it wouldn’t work all that well for a putter to move them. For the person that is far away from the hole, a simple act of love can be used to get them closer to the hole where the golfer can use a putter to nudge them into the hole (to accept Christ) so that progress will take place. Progress takes place all along the golf match no matter which club is used. The lesson learned is this – use the appropriate club depending on where the ball lies, not on your affinity for a particular club. Learn to use a number of clubs!

Too many times in evangelism we focus on the end result and we want to rush people there without taking the time to show them who God is through small acts of genuine love. There are many people who are so distant from accepting Christ, that a push in His direction with a practical service may be all that God asks at that moment. I like to think that our small obedient acts of love give the lost a first impression of who God really is, and how much He loves them. If I think about my relationship with Stubby, he did not come in and demand that he sleep on my bed and eat my food right away. I would have promptly kicked him off my property. Hata hivyo, little genuine acts of love over time gave me a first impression of cats and brought me to the point where I was ready to dive in to whatever Stubby wanted. When we grasp the truth that God uses even our small acts of love to draw the Lost to Himself, it inspires us to live a life that is bursting out with the love and kindness God has shown us. Every small act of our life becomes meaningful simply because a small act of love shown to an Unbeliever could be all God needs to draw them to a better understanding of who He is, which in effect draws them closer to accepting Jesus’ love.

Our church has recently caught fire on giving people within our community a first impression of who God is. As we focus on giving the Lost a little nudge closer to Jesus we like to perform small acts of kindness such as passing out free water on a hot day, passing out free candy, doing free car washes, raking leafs for free, or any free service that aims just to show people that God loves them in a practical way with no strings attached. The people we are serving often say, “I have never felt so loved by a Christian” or “I have never heard of a church doing something like this just to tell me God loves me”. Over time we have seen the fruit of nudging people towards Christ through small acts of love.

If Stubby can use small genuine acts of love to bring me to a place where I admit that I love cats, how much more can God use our small, genuine acts of love overtime to bring an Unbeliever to a place where they accept Him.

Hang in there as the ball moves closer to the hole. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will inspire you to have patience.

 

Jinsi Flush yako Mabomba Kiroho na Ken Glassmeyer

Hakuna jambo muda gani mimi kufanya kuwafikia, Mimi mara nyingi kushangazwa kiasi gani athari kuwahudumia wengine kwa kweli ina juu ya afya yetu wenyewe kiroho. Wakati sisi kulisha masikini, au kufanya baadhi ya ishara ndogo ya wema, si tu ni sisi kuwapa ladha ndogo ya ufalme, sisi kupata nishati kiroho kama vizuri. Nimesikia zaidi ya mmoja mchungaji kutumia mfano kwamba sisi ni mfereji au bomba kwa ajili ya neema ya Mungu wakati sisi kumwacha kati yake kupitia kwetu kwa wengine.

Wakati mwingine, when that grace sprays through us, it clean our pipes.

This fall, I had my hot water heater fail on me. I live in an area that has extremely hard water, and frugal skeptic that I am, I have always resisted getting a water softener. I am also not the most knowledgeable guy when it comes to home repair. Little did I know that you are actually supposed drain and flush your hot water heater and lines at least once per year, because calcium, lime, and other minerals in hard water will calcify and gunk up your taps, fixtures pipes, and even the hot water heater itself. In my case I went 15 years without ever having the heater serviced. At first, I noticed white grit in the aerators and reduced flow from the tap. Then a few weeks later every hot water line in the house slowed to a mere trickle. After a few thousand dollars and few days with a plumber, my lines were very clear, I had a new hot water heater, and a softener. I had to help the plumber carry the old heater out of the house because it had over sixty pounds of sediment that had built up over the years. All of this could have been avoided through the simple discipline of flushing my plumbing from time to time.

Can’t the same thing be said for making outreach a regular habit in our lives?

Maybe it goes back to the idea of a man with no shoes suddenly being very happy with his life when he meets a man with no feet. When we serve people that are more impoverished than us, whether it be emotional, spiritual, or fiscal poverty, it helps put our life in perspective. It flushes our spiritual pipes and gets the gunk out.

I had a similar experience with my personal ministry right around the same time the hot water heater went out. Even though most folks assume I do outreach almost as often as I breathe, it does not really come natural to me. If truth be told, I am not a very nice person. I am actually kind of jerk. Kwa kweli, that is proof that effective servant evangelism is absolutely dependent on God’s kindness–not my politeness. Serving others does not come naturally to me. It might look that way if you were elbow to elbow with me doing ministry, but you aren’t seeing me in my natural element. You are seeing the power of God’s kindness transform me on the spot as it flows through me to those I am serving.

As such, sometimes I get in a funk. Wakati mwingine, I slack off with regard to ministry. Weeks and months can slide by, and then I can spiral into a really funky spiritual place. I was in such a place this fall. I had a few serious set backs in my personal life, a few deaths and illnesses in the family, and a number of financial problems. While I wasn’t shaking my fist at God, we weren’t exactly on the best speaking terms. I certainly was in no mood to serve other people, much less be cordial toward them.

I am real big fan of Harry Chapin, and if you happen to have his Greatest Hits CD around, put it in. There is a little rant he goes on between two of his songs where he talks about the ludicrousness of churches and schools getting excited about feeding the poor around Thanksgiving: “sure they eat good for one or two days off of your food drive, but what are they going to eat the rest of the year?"

I happened to be listening to it in the car and it occurred to me, that not only do the impoverished go hungry the rest of the year, some of us get spiritually lazy the rest of the year. Before I heard the CD, I had not only skipped several planned church outreaches, I had even slowed down my personal servant evangelism. I wasn’t “making my rounds” as Steve Sjogren often teaches: simply follow your daily routine, but be attentive and ready to serve the people you meet as you run daily errands and go about your normal business.

My pipes were clogged.

I had actually even thought about skipping my church’s annual Turkeyfest, an event I helped start and refine over twenty-five years ago.

I was in a funk, and while I know and have often taught others that the best way to get out of a funk is to serve others. I didn’t want to. I conjured a hundred reasons not to join Turkeyfest. Spiritual inertia had set in.

It was a very rough autumn. My grandmother had just died just as I was finally really getting to know her and visit with her regularly. Sadly, I’m still a bit unsure just where she landed on the Engle scale before dying. I felt spiritually impotent. Here I was, a type of outreach guru, and I couldn’t even witness effectively to my mostly unsaved family. The rest of my family are pretty dang near the bottom of that same Engel scale. They have a casual awareness that there is a God, but they aren’t Him. It pretty much ends there with regards to faith with most of my family members.

Then my mom was attacked by the third type of cancer she has encountered in two decades: breast cancer, skin cancer, and now finally fatal stage four renal cell carcinoma. She is way down in Florida and, living in Ohio, I can’t really see her as much as I would like to. She has less than six months left. There’s a bit more. . .I am sterile, yet changed that into a passion for being a teacher and I was pretty good at it and even won a few awards, but then I had a heart attack breaking up a fight at school and I was diagnosed with severe CHF and forced to retire early.

I spent a great amount of time in and out the hospital and have several pieces of my anatomy sliced, diced, and removed. I tried to get healthier, but with a heart that works with less than 30% efficiency, my days in the classroom were over.

I threw myself into ministry becoming an outreach maniac and even became the editor of a national magazine dedicated to teaching folks around the world how to do two things:

  1. Notice the needs of people
  2. Help them notice God that is overjoyed to meet those needs for them

Sadly that groove only lasted a couple of years. Due to medical pension stipulations, I had to resign. In fact I had to curb all of my organized ministry endeavors for I am no longer able to lead or instruct others formally—even as a volunteer. I now have to submit a report to the state board delineating my activities proving that I am not doing any form of leading others; I can’t even teach a Bible study or lead a small group. All this for the joy of collecting 21.25% of my final year’s salary—before taxes.

Then I found out I have a brain chemistry problem that the doctors still have not put their finger on. I have become a test subject for pharmaceutical companies, only I am paying them, rather than them paying me as they try medication after medication to stabilize my brain chemistry. Quite possibly it is never going to be fixed and could be a result of all the other medications I take for my Congestive Heart Failure; Hypertension and the fact that I no longer have part of my intestinal tract and stomach.

Some mornings I wake up and wonder why Job was being such a cry-baby.

In other words, I still love God because He is my Father, but lately I haven’t been in the mood to talk to him very much and being around people that are more “cheery” than me makes me even edgier than some of you have ever seen me, and if you thought me rude and brusque before, I am down right spiritually cantankerous at the moment. . .kinda like a crotchety Christian Dennis Miller who thinks he is funnier and smarter than he really is, and says everything he is thinking out loud. So I began to stay away from gatherings so I am not toxic to others.

My spiritual pipes weren’t just clogged—they were backed up.

Anyway, I was almost in such a funk that I dang near took a pass on handing out turkeys this year, causing me to miss my first Turkeyfest. . .well since before we really didn’t have a name for it. Back when we started it in the late 1980’s we just all pitched in out of our own pocket, loaded up a few pickup trucks with frozen turkeys, stuffing, canned goods, pumpkin pies and just doing the best a group of loving amateurs could do to hand out mercy and kindness from the back of a tailgate.

Twenty five years later and we were feeding over a thousand families each Thanksgiving—with a really nice spread. I was going to bail on it.

Then two things changed my mind.

1) I heard a rumor that we might revisit the “old-school model” and have a bit more freedom to freelance/pray and stretch a few atrophied prophetic muscles and find random families to serve as the Lord led rather than use leads (with triplicate paperwork) from a social services agency making us little more than pizza delivery boys. One time last year I was yelled at by the person I gave the turkey dinner to, that I bought out of my pocket, because I was ten minutes late arriving.

2) My youngest nephew, Adam, would be joining us for his first Turkeyfest. This precocious young man is the life of any party: a kid that is two parts scoundrel and three parts saint. You never know what is going to come out of his mouth, but more times than not it would be profound and sometimes even holy.

We reduced down, not going with a larger group this year; just our little extended family of me, my wife, and some of my inlaws. They are Catholic, but let me tell you, that particular faith has forgotten more about service and kindness than any cutting edge parachurch you can name. We bought two turkey dinners to give away. The organizers at my church provided heavy-duty laundry baskets (This is an awesome idea by the way—it holds a great deal of food and a full-sized turkey without breaking, and can be used to do laundry later!) and we just went to the store and filled it with a Thanksgiving bounty including a good sized bird.

The worship was awesome, but I had to chuckle when little Adam leaned into his mother’s shoulder and said: “Uhhmm, mom, I think we went to the wrong place cause this sure ain’t no Catholic church.”

It was going to be a good day.

We drove through Lincoln Heights with our turkeys. The landscape has sure changed since the days of the white bus and food runs I used to organize in this impoverished neighborhood when I was on staff over twenty years ago. The entire place has been gentrified, but if you look close, you can still see the hidden poverty sprinkled around all the new condominiums city planners put in when the bulldozed the eight block grid housing project. I almost go lost.

As we were driving down Chamberlain Ave. little Adam was inspired: “Uncle Kenny, Instead of driving around all day and looking at houses, why don’t we just stop and ask that lady if she knows anybody that is hungry–she looks like she knows where we should go with the food.”

I look over and there is a single mom trying to load her car with a ton of laundry in plastic bags as she also herded two young kids. I hop out of the van and help her load her car introduce myself and ask her if she “knows of any families in the neighborhood going through a bad time that could maybe use an thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings?”

She stared and me blankly for a moment and started crying and pointed to the door of the house. “I don’t live here–that’s my dad’s place,” is all she said, but kept crying.

I motioned to the van and we all carried the pies and stuffing and potatoes and turkey etc inside to meet Marcus and his grandson Javonian.

Marcus explained that his wife had just recently passed and he was trying to make things okay, but it was real rough on the family. To make matters worse, the heater was out, his car was broke, and he was about to lose his job. On top of all that, his wife had always put out a large spread for the family at Thanksgiving, but not only did he not have a clue how to cook, he didn’t have the money to afford such a spread

I started to show him that we had even gave him some basic cooking directions and showed him the cooking tips guide in the basket, but he stopped me. He pointed out the window at his daughter, “She won’t come in here right now ’cause she’s mad at me and the rest of the world. She can cook just like her ma could though, so we are good there. Don’t worry. She’ll come around. She just knows we’re about to do church in this living room, and that is probably more than she could bear right now.”

Adam frowned up at the man, “Why is she mad?”

“Well. . .” tears welled up in his eyes, but he laughed, “we were just arguing this morning about what to do about Thanksgiving this year, and I told her I would pray and God would provide–then you all showed up a few minutes later. She ain’t really mad-mad, she just knows it is time to get right with God again, you know? You folks showing up is just God messing around with her–and some folks don’t think God has a great sense of humor,” Marcus smiled down at Adam as he wiped a tear from his face. “Little man, you and your kin are an answer to prayers this morning,” and with that Marcus grabbed all our hands and we did church in his living room.

We prayed for Marcus and his grandson while his daughter lingered and watched with curiosity from the porch. Then Adam tugged on my jeans: “Aren’t you going to pray for his heater?”

I picked up the broken thermostat in my hand and Adam covered it with his and we prayed that God would “send a friend over that could help him hook it back up right.” The phone rang just as we were leaving. It was a friend of Marcus calling to see what would be a good time to come over and rewire the thermostat that had been lying on the floor.

My pipes are clean now.

The 90 Siku Outreach changamoto na Steve Sjogren

Kanisa mimea haja ya kutafuta njia za ubunifu kuungana na utamaduni wa mashirika yasiyo ya kuamini karibu nao. Kama wewe kuomba kwa ajili ya si-bado Waumini kuonyesha hadi wao. Lakini jinsi gani unaweza kuwaongoza katika uhusiano na Kristo? Kwa kawaida kuna mchakato wa kushiriki katika uongozi wao kwa Kristo.

When my wife Janie was seeking to know who the Lord really was, she asked God to reveal himself at the beginning of the summer. On June 1st she prayed an open ended prayer: “Show me who you really are by the end of the summer.” She promptly forgot about her prayer but God was at work arranging her circumstances. Some months later she ended up at a wedding (for a couple who weren’t even engaged in June) thousands of miles away. That was Labor Day weekend – the end of summer! She took a several hour car trip with a couple of turned on Believers who enthusiastically shared the Gospel with her. She became convinced that Jesus was Lord and that she had misunderstood him. On the Saturday before Labor Day weekend, marking the end of summer, she was converted to Christ!

True to answering her prayer, God moved by the end of summer. God loves a challenge! He takes the prayers of not-yet Believers seriously.

Making deals with God

Consider this:

Make deals with the not-yet believer. It’s a daring stand off. Either God will move specifically or nothing will happen. I’ve seen God move time after time in these situations. He loves to prove himself to Seekers.

Choose 3 things they need to see God move in their life to prove himself. Choose things that are measureable, for example jobs and finances. Stay away from romantic situations – those are too subjective. Pray in agreement for those things to happen.

I recommend you give it 90 days to see God show up. Come together at the end of those 3 months to compare notes.

In my experience the person in question will often have either forgotten about the prayer or will be convinced God didn’t answer their prayer, but when you look at the specifics it is usually clear that God clearly did move.

At that time bring them back to the original agreement – that they would open their hearts to Christ. Bring them around to the notion that God is madly in love with them! Pray together. Start their relationship with Christ.

Wala kustaafu… Regards! na Dk. Gary sweeten

Kila Jumanne kundi la geezers sisi kucheza gofu pamoja. Tuna mengi ya furaha ya ushindani na sisi baadhi ya kushiriki kuhusu kile Mungu anachofanya katika na kupitia kwetu. Unaweza kuona, geezers katika dunia ya leo si kama wao walikuwa hata kizazi iliyopita. Kwa kweli, moja ya vitabu favorite ni haki ya, "Kugeuza Silver katika Gold: Jinsi ya Faida katika New Boomer Marketplace "na Mary Furlong. Ingawa mwandishi inalenga katika fedha, mawazo yake ni juu ya kupunguza makali ya zeitgeist mpya ambayo ni kuchukua dunia ya magharibi na dhoruba na wale kuelewa zinafaidisha mkubwa sana.

Kwa bahati mbaya, tu hata Wakristo wachache wanaonekana kuwa na ufahamu wa nini kinaendelea kiutamaduni, kiroho na relationally na bado inaweza kuwa harakati muhimu zaidi ya kiroho tangu Luther aliimba, "Kama mimi alikuwa nyundo" akaenda Wittenberg Castle. Kwa mfano, jinsi wengi yako "Outreach Oriented" watu amesikia "Kusudi Tuzo"? Hivi karibuni watu ubunifu mitano na wanawake walipokea $100,000.00 Tuzo kusudi Tuzo ya zao "Social Innovation" na ushiriki katika "Encore Ajira"! Mimi ni matumaini ya kuwa moja ya wapokeaji ya.

Watu hawa wote ni juu ya 55 na wamekataa kustaafu. Badala waliamua inahusu to kutumia muda wao, hekima, uzoefu na fedha ya kufanya jambo kubwa kwa ajili ya dunia.

http://www.encore.org/prize?utm_source=cv&utm_medium=email&utm_content=textlink&utm_campaign=endoct )

Kulinganisha kwamba kwa nini mara nyingi hufanyika katika makanisa karibu USA. Mimi mara moja ameketi karibu na kustaafu Makamu wa Rais wa mashirika ya kimataifa wakati flying kwa Singapore. Wakati aligundua nia yangu mmisionari yeye kushiriki kwamba alikuwa muumini ambaye alikuwa akifundisha shule ya Jumapili kila wiki. Alikuwa na safari yake kwa kuzungumza katika mkutano kuhusu kutumia video teleconferencing kutoa mafunzo kwa wasimamizi wa duniani kote. Mimi aliuliza nini alikuwa anaenda kufanya wakati alistaafu. "Kucheza golf,"Alisema.

Mimi wito yake kwa kuzingatia kazi na shirika Christian kuanzisha mikutano kwa ajili ya watu kama mimi. Mimi naweza kukaa nyumbani na bado kufundisha duniani kote. Alisema, "Sidhani Mchungaji wangu ingekuwa naomba kufanya hivyo. Mimi si kwa seminari au kitu chochote. I am just layman. Mimi nina uhakika pretty yeye basi mimi kuendelea kufundisha shule ya Jumapili ingawa. "Yikes" Nilidhani! "Na kufundisha shule ya Jumapili wakati ulimwengu wa Kikristo desperately mahitaji viongozi kimataifa mafunzo; na fedha?"

Cincinnati ina zaidi elfu ishirini wanaume na wanawake alistaafu kutoka P&G, PATIA, Kroger, nk ambao wana rasilimali fedha, wakati, uzoefu mpana, akili ya ubunifu na kina kiroho. Jinsi wengi Wachungaji lakini ni vifaa wao kutumia vipaji vyao, vipaji na mawazo kufikia dunia? Moja ya majira yangu Kuamini marafiki ina zaidi 200 ruhusu lakini kanisa lake hana wazo jinsi unleash ubunifu wake. Mwingine ni mwanzilishi wa $100 dola milioni kampuni hiyo kila kanisa, huduma na ujumbe katika Amerika inaweza kutumia. muda tu yeye ni akakaribia na mawaziri wake ni kuchangia katika kujenga mwingine. Mwanamume mmoja mara kwa mara kuulizwa mafunzo faida zisizo kuhusu maadili lakini si aliuliza kufundisha katika kanisa lake nyumbani.

kanisa la zamani dhana ya juu chini ya shirika urasimu na majengo kubwa ni kumaliza. Viongozi wengi bado ni kujaribu kujenga kwa vizazi zamani wa pew sitters. Hebu fikiria, wangeweza kuwa sadaka zawadi kwa wajasiriamali ubunifu ambao mabadiliko Jumatatu dunia kwa njia ya Jumamosi. "Majira Waumini" hawana walionao katika mtu yeyote mpango mkakati isipokuwa ni kwa ajili ya kusaidia bajeti au kukodisha waziri mstaafu kuchukua basi ziara ya Makumbusho Creation.

magazeti uongozi majadiliano juu ya kuajiri vijana ambao ni wazi kwa mawazo mapya. Kwa kweli vijana wengi ni kukwama katika urafiki wao wenyewe myopic. Sisi ambao wamekuwa wabunifu katika maisha yetu yote ni tayari kuongoza ubia mpya kwa ajili ya Utawala. Kutibu yetu na heshima na ufahamu na kuuliza sisi kujenga njia zetu wenyewe wa kufikia nje kwa wale walio karibu nasi. Malipo yetu kwa ufahamu kwamba sisi kujua nini kinaendelea na fedha katika nywele zetu wanaweza kuwa dhahabu kwa Mchungaji yoyote na guts ututenge huru.

Hapa ni siri kuhusu Steve Sjogren. Kama Mchungaji hakuwa na hofu ya kuwaajiri wakubwa, hekima ndevu kijivu uzoefu zaidi kuliko yeye. Steve walitaka nje watu wenye nguvu na wanawake basi kukuzwa na anashikilia yao. Matokeo yake inaonekana kama shujaa. Kuwa na fikra. Kuwaajiri rundo la Majira Waumini lakini si kushikilia mikono yao au kupendekeza basi umesimama kutembelea makumbusho!

PS. Tangu awali kuandika makala hii katika 2009, Mungu alitoa wengine Waumini Majira katika SLS nafasi ya kufikia nje kwa familia na watoto walemavu. makanisa na kupuuzwa yao lakini wao desperately wanataka kujifunza jinsi ya kuwa na uhusiano na Mungu ili kuwasaidia kupitia jitihada zao za.

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Let’s Make A Deal by Randy Bohlender

Let's Make A DealOne of my early childhood memories is of the TV game show, “Let’s Make a Deal,” hosted by Monty Hall. The general idea was that people, dressed up in outlandish costumes, would try and attract attention to be chosen to play some sort of game that involved trading things and making a blind choice of what was between door number one, door number two, or door number three.

In other words, make yourself look goofy, roll the dice and take your chances on the outcome.

Psalm 45 offers another deal…one that seems costly but pays out at a crazy rate. Verse 10 says “Hear, oh daughter, and consider, and incline your year, forget your people and your fathers’ house, and the king will desire your beauty.”

In a patriarchal society like the Old Testament, the cost of this is clear. Forget your people. Forget your father’s house. Walk away from all that spells security to you. Take a chance on the unknown when the known is where you draw your sustenance…where you glean your identity. An unmarried woman may grow old and lonely, but she’d always be taken care of…at least as long as her father was alive.

father and son on a beachIn our world, where fatherlessness is rampant, many people walk away from their father’s house prematurely. Those with a healthy father/child relationship to point to are far and few in between, and even in those cases, the child does not look to the father for security and identity once they reach adulthood. In many ways, our own culture has taken place of the patriarchal leader. We are not told what to do or believe or manage our lives by an earthly father – we learn those things from a television, a movie screen, or the latest music group. We take our value cues from actors and musicians. They preach a fatherly message of self worth and self inflation that is the support structure of all sorts of our social mores, including the second house, the third car, and the fourth wife. We believe in these things more than we believe in ourselves, and we’ll pay any price to get them. We’re made to believe that these things make us who we are.

To walk away from your fathers house in 2010 certainly means to walk away from all that makes us comfortable and feels normal – to live abnormally, even uncomfortably. I’m wrestling this one out myself right now. What do I do, how do I spend my money, where does my time go based on what the culture tells me is important, is a must-have gadget or a must-see tv show.

If we can learn to escape that house, there is a promise – a better deal. It’s called an audience with the King – but that’s not all.

Verse 16 promises us “In place of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth.” In other words, it may cost us our comfort, but the payoff comes in the form of sons. One translation of the word used there for ’sons’ is ‘children of unrighteous men’.

Which of course, leads me to adoption. Adoption in not cheap, not easy, and not without risks (although we’re working on all three of those…). Hata hivyo, even at it’s most expensive, it’s most difficult, it’s most risky moments, if we step beyond the ‘take care of ourselves, feed the machine mentality’, we get an amazing payback.

In adopting, we collect the sons of unrighteous men and place them in the house of prayer. We make princes in the kingdom of God out of paupers. Beyond changing destiny, we change their current reality. Everything becomes different for them – and everything becomes different for us.

The Blind SideMy favorite line from the recent movie, “The Blind Side” came during one of the lunch scenes. The adoptive mother is having lunch with her friends, who remark “You’re changing that boys’ life!” Quietly, Sandra Bullock responds “No. He’s changing mine.”

It’s true. And all it costs is everything.

Let’s make a deal.

Challenge:

What expense, gadget or indulgence do you have in your life that you could do without. Maybe it’s a purchase you were about to make or a Christmas gift you were going to return for exchange. As a first step, pray about doing without it – for a while, or maybe forever. Is it really a must-have, or did you just buy what you were sold by your father’s house?

If you can find it within yourself, do without it and seed it adoption by giving to an adoptive family or setting it aside as the beginning of your own adoption fund – then retweet a link to this or post it on your own blog. It gets easier to leave your fathers’ house when there are others going with you.


Randy BohlenderWho is Randy Bohlender?

I’m a Christian. I know the vogue phrase is Christ-follower and Christian has a lot of baggage, but so do I. I’m doing the best I can (most days) to reflect Jesus to the world. Some days I get close. Some days, He’s unrecognizable by my reflection, but I’m trying.

I’m a husband. July 2009, Kelsey and I will mark our 20th anniversary. She is an amazing friend who challenges me to new heights every day. I married up. Most men do. Katika 20 more years, she and I will still be laughing. Maybe at you. Definitely at ourselves and our expanding tribe.

I’m a dad. We have three sons and three daughters with a baby on the way. Ndiyo, I know. We look too young. It’s the internet – it takes ten years off of everyone (ask anyone who met someone through eHarmony). Having a family of this size gives a blogger a lot of material. If you read here long, you’ll learn a lot about my kids. Perhaps more than you’d ask. I make no apologies. I’m learning a ton about life and love from them.

I’m an Early Adopter. And I mean this on several levels…words, gadgets, and children. Kelsey and I launched The Zoe Foundation for reasons cited hapa. You cannot know much about me without understanding my heart for this.

I’m an intercessory missionary. I work with the International House of Prayer and TheCall, laboring in a 24/7 prayer room as well as organizing day long solemn assemblies across the nation.