Month: September 2012

Cultivating Growth: what church leaders are saying


Six leaders describe how they foster spiritual transformation in others Article Via Leadership Journal There are many ways Christians grow: Bible study, fellowship, service, prayer, even hardship. Of course all transformation is ultimately the result of God’s work in a person’s heart. But we were curious: what can a leader do to facilitate this mysterious change in those he or she leads? We asked six church leaders to share one way in which they foster spiritual growth. We trust their responses will contribute to your growth, too. Discover the Story Together Scripture is best encountered in community. Sean Gladding For a decade my wife and I have been leading a study called “The Story of God.” Basically, we retell familiar biblical narratives in plain, … Disciplinarians Needed A firm word can lead to spiritual growth. Merrill Powers For the past 11 years, my wife and I have had the privilege of working with individuals who suffer from substance abuse issues. Nearly 600 men … Feed Yourself First If we’re not growing, we have little to …

Is there anything worse than blindness? Yes! A person with no vision.


Pilgrims with no vision of the promised land become proprietors of their own land… Instead of looking upward at the Lord, they look inward at themselves and outward at each other. The result? Cabin fever. Quarreling families, Restless leaders, Fence building, Starked-off territory, No trespassing! signs are hung on hearts and homes. Spats turn into fights, as myopic groups turn to glare at each other’s weaknesses instead of turning to worship their common strength. _______________________________ Max Lucado, God came near (Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1987, 161. Photo via PRWeb

Holy Spirit, living breath of God


A prayer for the Holy Spirit to bring inward change Holy Spirit, living Breath of God, Breathe new life into my willing soul. Bring the presence of the risen Lord To renew my heart and make me whole. Cause Your Word to come alive in me; Give me faith for what I cannot see; Give me passion for Your purity. Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me. A prayer for the Holy Spirit to help bear fruits Holy Spirit, come abide within; May Your joy be seen in all I do— Love enough to cover ev’ry sin In each thought and deed and attitude, Kindness to the greatest and the least, Gentleness that sows the path of peace. Turn my striving into works of grace. Breath of God, show Christ in all I do. A prayer for the Holy Spirit to energize the church Holy Spirit, from creation’s birth, Giving life to all that God has made, Show your power once again on earth; Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways. Let the fragrance …

He’s not finished with me yet!


In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” I hope I can impress on you today through this short passage the need to live daily in a spirit of worship and continuous repentance. I don’t think you can truly get to a genuine, …

Dance in the Rain? We can’t dance until we lean how to lament.


Written by Janelle Wangle with Jayleen Wangle via Bible Insight Just about everyone has heard the anonymous saying, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.” I wonder what the original author meant by “dance”? If they meant that we just tell ourselves to be happy or at least pretend to be happy and “look for the silver lining,” then I disagree with the saying. But if dance means to have intimacy with God, then I heartily agree. The last line of Michael Card’s song “Underneath the Door” says: “Pain is the pen that writes the songs and they call us forth to dance.” Card is calling us to dance to the songs that pain has written for us. These songs are written in major and minor keys. Many times they are not “beautiful,” and in fact are quite harsh, but the finished product is a masterpiece. Learning to Lament How do we dance to these songs? By being real with God. That’s the only way …

Hudson Taylor Part 2 (The matter of giving and receiving)


I am not a pastor who encourages his congregation to give because of what they can get out of it. That does not mean they shouldn’t give. Having said that, the matter of giving is almost never just the matter of giving. According to Paul in Philippians 4:15, “Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only” – it is the matter of giving and receiving. You never ever hardly give and don’t receive – even though receiving is not the motivation here – there is always a receiving. And God determines that which is received. Here is a story in the life of Hudson Taylor that explains this: This is an excerpt from the biography of the life of Hudson Taylor In November, 1851, Hudson moved his lodging to a noisy suburb of Darinside, a neighborhood on the edge of town. Here he began a rigorous …

Hudson Taylor Part 1 (Compelled by the Spirit)


  I don’t know about you… I love it when God put other people on my heart to pray for them. Sometimes it come to me through a dream, other times it comes it is like a heavy burden or an uneasiness that just drops you to your knees in prayer… especially when you want to sleep and can’t close your eyes because you have this person or thing on your mind. Or you find yourself just thinking about this person and situation incessantly with a strong desire to pray or at least reach out. I humbly report that I have seen vision and heard the audible voice of God concerning these things, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that deep. I am sure you have found yourself thinking about somebody during your day and you called them – so you called them and your call was right on. You found out that it was a marriage under pressure, a kid out of control, a medical report that is devastating, a robbery on the way. God …

A passionate Tozer Prayer


O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou hast called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou are about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, our Lord, Thou has stopped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man takes this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant. My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine but Thine. Thou hast said, “I knew thee—I ordained thee—I sanctified thee,” and Thou has also said, “Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Who am I to argue …