Je li Osama bin Laden Spremljeno?

Osama Bin LadenThe cover of Time magazine recently featured Pastor Rob Bell and his controversial new book that hones in on the weighty issue of eternity. Unatoč Bellova intervjuu zaobilaženja jer je knjiga objavljena, the book flatly endorses Universalism – the notion that all will get a chance to come to Christ after death no matter what beliefs they held to in this life. I find that position impossible to hold in light of a multitude of scriptures.

I see the heart of God broken for the Lost, but they are still the Lost as the Bible addresses them.

The Lord is…not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9, NKJV) Clearly the heart of God is that all come to know Christ and spend eternity in the presence of God. Will that choosing of God be violated? Clearly yes.

For many are called, but few chosen. (Matt. 20:16, NKJV) Based on the context of Jesus’ words we could easily restate that concluding statement to this: “Many are called but few choose.” Most want to choose their own way forward and violate God’s choosing of them for relationship with God. It is particularly true that religious people choose their own way versus the way of humility into relationship with God. Few choose the way of humility. Few (something less than 50%) find authentic relationship with God through Jesus’ atoning death for them.

Bottom line, was Bin Laden a follower of Jesus? Of course he wasn’t. I don’t mean to be a party pooper but here’s what I think. Though millions of Americans are celebrating the shooting of this notorious criminal, there is a sense in which God is not celebrating. Da, evil has been judged. For that we are grateful. On the other hand, this man has gone into a christless eternity. For those who understand the heart of God, this is nothing to get overly excited about, regardless of the evil he stood for.

& Nbsp;

Idealno-Sized Kongregacija? Pokušajte 500! Steve Sjogren

congregationVelike crkve dolaze u različitim veličinama, vrlo velika,, srednjih one i manjih.

Some are frustrated with the mega church scene in our day for a variety of reasons. It is a mistake to discount the vital role mega churches play in God’s strategy for reaching the world. God has in mind to use mega churches in great ways in our day. Above all else he wants to redeem these churches to do great works of evangelism across America. Done rightly such churches can serve as catalysts for the greater community they find themselves in so that churches of all sizes can gain confidence for evangelism.

I believe the most efficient church size is…500.
I stated this conclusion several years ago in a book based on the numerous observations made in that book (Making A Good Church Great, Regal, 2010). I am more convinced now than ever that my original hunch was correct.

Ponder this: it would be more productive to produce 10 life-giving churches of 500 in weekend attendance than in building one mega church of 5,000. I believe there is abundant evidence to make the point that the per capita level of spiritual vitality is usually greater at a medium-sized church versus a single mega one. The individual Believer will likely evidence greater fruit of discipleship in medium sized churches than in mega ones.

Mega church pastors are called by God to accomplish great things.
I don’t wish anything ominous upon the shoulders of my mega church brethren, yet it is a fact that to whom much is given much is required. Those who lead very large congregations will stand before God in the not too distant future to give an account of the way they acted as stewards of the provision of God in their time as the leader of an immense congregation with immense resources.

How did I do as a teacher? Did I boldly and lovingly present to my people the uncompromising truth of the Gospel?
How did I do as a model? Did I show my people the life of Jesus through my life?
Did we do the work of evangelism? Did we consistently, profoundly seek to bring our city to Jesus?
Were the poor shown an abundance of the mercy of God?

Such questions put the fear of the Lord in me. With this burden of responsibility in mind I don’t miss a day of my time of leading a mega church. I pray mercy upon you if you are a pastor in a congregation of this sort.

If you are a pastor in another size congregation you have it easier in many ways. Pray for mega church pastors near you. I hope you will mutually stir up the “love and good deeds” Scripture calls us to walk in.


Steve Sjogren is a veteran church planter and pastor of five churches in he US and Europe, several of which have grown to mega church status. He is currently operating in his ideal role by leading an outward-focused congregation of 500 in the Greater Portland area. He is the author of several best-selling books and many free PDF booklets. The Steve Sjogren Blog is published daily as a focus on evangelism, outreach and the power of the Spirit to accomplish this.

Snaga riječi Steve Sjogren

Što reći / What Not to Say

The verbal encounter we have with people as we are doing outreach is vital. To, ono što mi kažemo - i ono što ne kažem — može učiniti ili break susret u outreach. Postoje načini da se kaže stvari koje su učinkovitiji od drugih. We don’t want to say whatever pops into your head in general. We are connecting with people who are by and large are fearful, mistrusting, and even though they are curious about what we are doing they are at the same time not willing to put their trust in us — after all we are total strangers. The best way to do outreach verbally is to take a bit of time to think through what it is that we are trying to accomplish. As we are doing outreach to large numbers of people in our community we have lots of a opportunities to convey a verbal message as well as the strong action of giving them a gift – either something physical or a service.

We are wise to say just enough but not too much that they would draw back. I recommend we convey the following:

1. “This is free…”

2. “…this is to show you God’s kindness…”

Then stand back and watch what God does. Sometimes we will have people draw into the action and ask questions about why we are doing this. At other times we are just scattering seeds that are going to bear fruit over the long haul as their hearts are conditioned.

This matter of verbalizing with people you are connecting with is something that will grow as you invest more time to the process of outreach. You will learn the more ideal ways of saying things that fits in your neck of the woods.

I bless you to live, learn and grow in your outreach efforts!

Planirate odmor outreaches

Postoji nekoliko puta tijekom kalendarske godine kad je Isus sljedbenici imati jedinstvenu priliku da se spojite točkice između Božje srce i srca mnoštva ranjavanje ljudi u našoj zajednici. Božić sezona je možda najveći od tih vremena. Na neki način, skoro smo imaju nepravednu prednost, because even skeptics are overwhelmed by all of the holiday endorphins and excitement. We can clearly target what people are hungry for, if we slow down just long enough to listen to what is on their hearts. We are here at Christmas to work in tandem with God’s Spirit as the time of the season allows us to get in touch with people in unique ways. The opportunities that lie before us are immense if we are willing to be focused.

Wrapping Presents
This is one of the most powerful ways you can serve a person during this time of the year. It is powerful because you are able to engage in a genuine conversation with them as you wrap their gift. More times than not, they will ask you why you are doing this for them. That curiosity will provide a natural opportunity for evangelism. With that said, it is easy to get caught up in the physical action of present wrapping. We need to take care not to forget the spiritual aspect of serving them. It is always best to slow things down a bit. Take ample advantage of the opportunity to share God’s love.

Wrapping Presents – Large Scale Project
There are several pointers to keep in mind if you are doing this as a larger scale event. You will need to begin recruiting a fairly large volunteer force—don’t procrastinate—start vision-casting now! The key to this outreach will be the personnel you have gathered together. They must be enthused and on the same page. You are looking for the people that are excitement catalysts in your church. These folks thrive on the energy and joy of the season. Start gathering materials now! Don’t put this off. Order plenty of what you will need. Keep in mind you don’t want to frustrate your volunteer force. The name of the game here is to have “More than plenty” so people will not have to twiddle their thumbs waiting on restocking when they could be serving the public and having divine conversations. Start praying now! We will be connecting with people who are not yet connected with us nor are they connected with the God of heaven and earth. They are in immense spiritual need, no matter what walk of life they come from. We are his representatives. We are not only wrapping presents – we are spiritual ambassadors. We need to blend the spiritual act of praying with the physical act of serving. If we get out of sync with our serving we cease to be effective in our activity. We are merely chasing our tails.

Strategy
Our role is to serve them all and let God sort them out. In the past people have suggested that we should only seek to serve the marginalized, but I would argue that their definition of poverty, may be too narrow. The beauty of wrapping gifts a shopping mall or department store is that you will encounter people with diverse socio-economic status, but they all have spiritual and emotional needs. That is what we are really seeking to touch. Do not get bogged down by skill. Even if you are all thumbs, chances are you are still doing the person a tremendous service. In fact I have had people take over the wrapping from me as I simply hand them the supplies and hold down flaps and strings while they do elaborate wrapping. What this is really about is the conversation you share while the gift is being wrapped. You don’t have to be a highly skilled craft person to do this activity. We can all engage in the simple sharing line of “We are here to wrap your present as a part of XYZ Community Church to show you some love this Christmas. Make sure you remind folks: “We are not a part of the mall / store personnel – we pay for this ourselves in order to show God’s love in a practical way to the community. Our intent is to give God’s love, not just talk about it.” Some simple chatter will do the trick until the other person clicks in with some acknowledgement of what you are saying. They will either engage with you or they will change the subject. Many will want to chat a bit. Keep in mind you will be planting a seed of generosity in the hearts of the majority of people we come in contact with. This will be one of many seeds that person will need to come in contact along their trek prior to their conversion to Jesus. We all have a unique path into a love relationship with Jesus. Very rarely was it a sudden conversion. Our part as his followers is to tell our story along the way between now and then to as many as possible. In wrapping presents we get plenty of chances to share our story and his story at the same time.

It should be noted that if you don’t have the resources or volunteers to do this at a mall or large department store, a smaller discount store with a limited schedule could be a perfect starting location for your group. You can always work towards the goal of broadening this event in future years. People will join up in your outreaches for many reasons, but they will stay for one main reason – because they enjoyed working with the people. You need to work with the shift leaders present to make sure you are not frustrating the people present in any way if that is at all possible. I recommend the primary leaders of this be connected with, be brought coffee while the shifts are going on, be asked in a jovial way, “Are we having fun yet?" – engaging ways of connecting the dots with the team by various levels of interactive approaches to show care to all involved.

Liquor Store Outreach?
As Jesus often demonstrated, we need to hang out with the sinners. The name of the game is, “We are here to connect with people who don’t go to church.” This is always the objective to keep in front of you. The object is not to serve churchy people. For the most part those folks already understand the notion of God’s love. I ran into a group who had latched onto the giftwrapping concept last season, but they got the application pretty much backwards. They set up shop in front of a Christian book store. I suggested they move across the parking lot to a liquor store. They laughed heartily at the suggestion. I didn’t laugh. I wasn’t kidding. Not in the least. Another pastor friend was present when this conversation took place. He chimed in. “Yes, that’s a very good idea. If you are after the head tilt with this project you really need to switch locations. I did an outreach like this a few years ago when I was working for a Church in California and we set up the outreach in front of a liquor store. One guy came in planning to just buy some booze and other supplies for a party, including a last minute gift—the ultimate one stop shopping. Not only was he converted by this radical love he certainly wasn’t shopping for, this guy became a member of the church and over time became one of its most influential leaders!”

Keep in mind not everyone that shops at a liquor store has drinking problem—we are wise to not generalize. We are also wise to go to places that have historically been cast off by the church culture in general. Once again: “serve them all, let God sort them out!” A liquor store may be prime real estate for holding a small, outdoor gift-wrapping outreach. Make sure you clearly explain your intent and the point of the outreach with the owner / manager of the store prior to doing the outreach. This conversation is key to the success of the outreach making it or not.

The Taste of Christmas
Here is a quick and easy outreach you can put together as either a business blast kindness event, or a take-home kit for you to give to church members as the exit from weekend services. The materials are easy to gather: 1) A bulk supply of Ziploc snack size baggies 2) Well crafted connect cards with a holiday design 3) High quality Christmas candy.

Candy Canes are always welcomed it seems. If you really want to make a dent inpeople’s lives, purchase different colored candy canes other than the standard red and white colors. Apparently there are now even exotic fruit flavors available in neon colors, but with the traditional shape. Make sure you have some chocolate. This is crucial. Hershey’s makes a seasonal version of Kisses that are decorated in green foil or red foil. There is actually a large variety of seasonal candy that you will find on display starting in early November. You are going for a mix that is attractive in appearance and flavor. The connect card is the anchor. In fact we have a few new fantastic designs available now at Kindness Resources LLC. The name of the game is to give away as many of these as possible with a small connect card inserted into the Ziplock bag. One candy cane, a few pieces of candy is all you need for each bag to make a small effective touch. If you purchase in bulk you can keep your cost efficiency to between $0.07 za $0.12 per touch!

Black Friday Outreach
Some daring people / churches have the courage to take on enormous crowds that gather for shopping specials the day after Thanksgiving. This outreach needs to be done in connection with the store that is willing to allow you to do something spectacular directly in front of their location. I have neverheard of a store that wasn’t anything less than tickled at the offer of having a Black Friday outreach done in front of their location. I have on occasion heard of stores where they pay for part or all of the outreach materials so long as the people from the local church manned the labor aspect of the outreach. This is actually easy to do. Think of any nice touch to get the attention of a frenzied shopper:

  • Free Coffee/Hot Chocolate (check out the cool back pack dispenser)
  • Free Battery Packs
  • Free Ribbon
  • Free Scotch Tape
  • Free Wrapping Paper Kits
  • Free “Pop Up” Bows
  • Shopping Cart Valet Service
  • Umbrella Outreach
  • Windshield Cleaning Patrol

Final Thoughts
This season, make sure that you remember that people are hungry for relationship. The holidays remind us we are more ill-equipped for relationships than at any other times of the year. We get around those who are perhaps challenging to us, yet they are the ones we love. We are hungry to see progress made in relationships, but we don’t know how to make progress without being driven crazy at the same time. This is a time of year when people are in some ways the most open to a “Big God” encounter. There is a sort of collective verbal outcry that goes very much like this:

"Dear God, if you are real and if you answer prayers, please hear mine. I ask that you would change my family and make us more loving toward one another. Amen.”

It is also important to remember that people are in a hurry. Nearly everyone is on a short emotional fuse. Thus, we must be mindful of the tendency on the parts of everyone to be a bit odd about things in general. If it is ever appropriate to proceed with caution now is the time of year for those words to be taken to heart.

We should also make sure that we invest time and energy on retail employees. Given the current economy, this holiday season is predicted to see a record number of new seasonal part-time employees hit the work force. For many this grim reality of a second or third job will be a shock to their system. They will be in as much need for kindness as they will the extra funds they hope to gain by adding ten to twenty hours onto their already exhausting hours of employment just to make ends meet or to gather extra holiday cash. Our hope is to scatter our seeds at the Christmas season in order to see a return to our love language throughout the rest of the year. During the final part of the calendar year we may end up seeing a return that is greater than all the other weeks and months we go out and serve folks. Zapravo, I think it will pale by comparison. Let’s make the most of what we have before us. Let’s connect the dots and see what God is up to right around us. That will happen as we serve with all our hearts and lay caution aside.