Church Was Cancelled but the Bills Were Not

 

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Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open thefloodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

                                                                          Malachi 3:10

 

I am not a fan of calling off church for any reason.  I don’t like when we have inclement weather and have to make a decision about weather or not to have services.  Many times we have to do what we don’t like to do for the safety of every one, and yesterdays was one of those days.  The church is a beautiful thing and I am thankful that God designed the church.  The church is a body of believers that gather regularly to worship with each other, encourage one another, learn from the teaching of scripture and pray for each other.  The church is the Bride of Christ according to Ephesians 5:25-27

25 gHusbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and hgave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by ithe washing of water jwith the word, 27 so kthat he might present the church to himself in splendor, lwithout spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.1

When the church is not able to meet, it affects me as a member of the body.  I enjoy seeing everyone each week and being a part of this local body at Bridge of Faith.

There is another part of the body that is affected that people often don’t think 1195576_92868095about when we have to cancel church.  The tithe.  Perhaps the practice of tithing is not practical to you.  I like this article about tithing.  I am responsible as shepherd to make sure all bills are paid, the staff is taken care of, the building is warm, there is gas in the buses, food on Wednesday nights, and everything else that requires financial support from the church body.  When we miss one Sunday of giving, it affects the whole budget.  Don’t know why it works this way, but the next Sunday after the cancelled Sunday is not typically doubled in support.  The following Sunday is reflective of a normal giving rather than doubled.   I recognize that God is our provider, but I also recognize he uses the Body of Christ and the tithe to provide.  This is some food for thought.  So, next time church is cancelled because of snow and you have a love for the church, then maby we will all consider giving a little extra the following Sunday.

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Beyond Benevolence: Changing lives through congregation, Connection and Community Workshop 2

Beyond Benevolence: Changing lives through congregation, Connection and Community Workshop 2 Friday at 3:15

What is Benevolence?
Problems with previous way of thinking
  1. Frustrated, overwhelmed
  2. Repeats/disheartened
  3. Handouts
We created
  1. Cycle of dependence for those we served
  2. Disempowerment
  3. Quick Fixes
We needed to change
  1. Congregation perception of needy/helping
  2. Advocate/staff mindset
Mindset Change
  1. Not everyone is in crisis
  2. Layers of depth and dysfunction
  3. Overwhelming need that financial couldn’t touch
  4. It’s okay to say “No”
Preparation
  1. Pray
  2. Research
  3. Brainstorm
How we Serve
  1. Set High Expectations
    1. Worship
      1. you have to come to church
    2. Serve
      1. a way for them to give back
    3. Budget
      1. Give you some accountability
  2. We serve Everyone
    1. Case management
      1. someone to walk along side you
    2. Classes
      1. budgeting
    3. Connection points
      1. get you connected to the church
  3. Online application
    1. 24 hour access
    2. Appointment Availability
    3. Streamlined Process www.nothlandchruch.net/lifehope/
  4. Congregation Education
    1. Understanding poverty
    2. Serving to Empower (When Helping Hurts)
    3. Resource point website
      1. Develop a website that had all available resources for the community
  5. Live Generously
    1. People see a site with the needs and the stories and can choose to give to that need.  A scale to see how much has been raised.
  6. Congregation Involvement
    1. LifeHope Advocates
    2. Administrative Process
    3. Guest Greeters
    4. Computer Skills
    5. Budget Counselors
    6. Job Search Coaches
  7. Expanding Horizons
    1. University of Central Florida Internships
    2. Local Church Partnerships
    3. Outside resources
    4. Connection to local organizations
  8. Moving Forward
    1. Always open to change
    2. Go back to the drawing board each year
    3. Learn from our mistakes
    4. Learn from our successes
    5. Be open to God’s leading
    6. Listen to the voices of our advocates, clients and congregation
  9. Process
    1. People apply online and Monday is when they are processed
    2. 3-5 volunteers sit around the table and assess the applications
    3. Goes to our staffing to determine
    4. If we help you financially we want you to worship and serve
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Starting a Hands-On Urban Charter School Notes From CCDA Workshop

Starting a Hands-On Urban Charter School Notes From CCDA Workshop Friday Workshop Session 1

Starting a Hands-on Urban Charter School

Kerry Depris Lesley Draper
Inspire Academy Muncy Indiana
Expeditionary School Learning Topics
Education there are a lot of models out there but can be categorized
Inquiry-based
What the students want to learn then the teacher researches it and goes with it.
Drill-based
drilling it and continual repeat to learn it kipp approach
Project-based
A problem to be solved
Student-directed
Students pursue their strengths to the end
Relational based
Making sure the relationship is strong no matter the approach (alternative school)
EMO Educational Management Organization for profit
Charters hire a company to run their school
CMO Charter Management Organization Non profit
Charters must be non-profit
Independent Charters
No organization runs the school it is locally run
Ran by a local board
Facilities
Building Commisioner about the nuts and bolts about what is permissible in buildings
Fire Dept Looking at safety
Health Department Kitchens bathrooms and sanitary conditions
Building Options
Charters are publicly funded schools
Held accountable to state standards
Public charter school program
Federal Money
How to navigate the time gap of spending money until you get paid
Developing a strong board
Organizing board: putting the charter together Know your community and find people that can network
Governing board
Lawyer, Finacial, small business, worked with families, educators, administration
6300 per child
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Holding a Stake you are not Tied to

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  It’s Monday and perhaps you are still reflecting on the message you heard in church on Sunday.  You ever feel like you go to church on Sunday and can’t help but to think the pastor is preaching directly at you?  You are thinking he must know what I am going through and he seems to be singling me out.  Or perhaps you read his blog and think this is pointed right at me.  We can use the sin of anger because it is something that in our life we all deal with.  If a message is being preached about dealing with our anger, then we start to say he is preaching at me again!  Our natural response can be to get angry at the one delivering the message.  As I write, I think about Jesus dealing with the adulterous women.  The religious leaders bring her to Jesus and use her sin life in an effort to trick the Messiah.  He responds with compassion for her and says the one without sin be the first to cast a stone at her.  Everyone accusing her leaves.  Jesus says has anyone condemned you and she responds by telling him no one has.  He then tells her that he does not condemn her and to go leave her life of sin.  Now, imagine with me for a moment that after Jesus has told her to leave her life of sin she gets mad at Jesus for telling her to leave her sin.  This would be much like a preacher preaching against anger, jealousy, hatred, gossip, envy, or you name it and our response is getting mad at the preacher.

I like the analogy that was recently shared with me.  If someone reveals sin in your life, then it is much like finding out you are tied to a stake.  The stake you are tied to is sin (hatred, rage, yelling, complaining, anger, jealousy, unforgiveness).  When the individual reveals the sin, it is like they have you tied to the stake and walking around the stake yelling out your sin to you.  It immediately puts us on the defense.  Then we recognize through scripture that the purpose of Biblical restoration is not to leave people where they are.  Christ did not come so that others would tie you to a stake and leave you where you are.  The purpose of sin being revealed to us in our life is so that we might be freed from it.  It is then that we realize the stake we think we are tied to is actually a stake that we are holding on to.  The stake we are holding on to is one that Christ is wanting us to turn loose of. 1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

We then realize that we were never tied to the stake, but it was a stakethat we were holding on to.  May we never allow the revealing of sin in our life to be a negative experience.  It is an opportunity to be freed from something we have been holding on to.

-Blessings Jonathan McGuire-

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Pigs Slop

file_204285_1_slopA couple weeks ago, I stopped by Matt’s house on a Monday morning.  I was intrigued by his pigs in the yard.  I could hear them snorting and rooting.  I went over to check them out.  As I got closer to the pigs, I could smell the wonderful smell that comes along with the pigs.  I noticed Matt had so many empty milk jugs laying around near the pig pen.  I asked Matt what was all that for.  Then it happened, he opened a 55 gallon drum full of spoiled milk.  My stomach began to snort and root much like the pigs were.  Matt then described to me what this was all about.  He said Larry brings him out dated and spoiled milk.  Matt, with the help of Hannah and Katelynn, empties all the milk into a 55 gallon drum.  He then replaces the lid on the drum and waits for the milk to get thicker.  He grabbed the scoop and said man these pigs love this stuff and it fattens them up.  Sure enough he dumped that slop in there and they really started snorting and rooting at each other.  This was an experience for me to say the least.

I could not help but to think of the Parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15.

Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living. 14 After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. 15 Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to eat his fill from the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one would give him any

Scripture says he squandered his estate in foolish living.  Scripture does an excellent job of painting foolish living.  One of my favorites of foolish living is Galatians 5

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Foolish living is hatred, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, envy, dissensions, and the list goes on.  Looking at the pigs slop, I could not help but to think that our foolish living brings us to eating what the pigs eat.  The sad state is that we in our flesh think that we enjoy and long for what the pigs eat.  Think about hatred towards an individual or even towards a church or the church.  We long to justify our hatred and at times long to stay in our hatred; meanwhile: back at the fathers house they are sitting around the table having steaks.  John 10:10 says,

1The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

When the son returns home, the father runs to meet him and immediately restores his son to sonship.  In the flesh, we often trade steaks at the fathers table for that which the pigs eat.  Hatred and unforgiveness are hurting you more than anyone else.  The Father stands ready to forgive.  Look around and see where you are eating from or longing to eat from.  Perhaps it’s pigs slop and the father stands ready to take that away and give you a steak but the questions is are you willing?

Blessings,

Pastor Jonathan

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Convoy of Hope

convoyIt was definitely an amazing day for myself and our church family last Thursday.  I had the opportunity to meet and spend sometime with Steve Donaldson Senior Director of Rural Compassion.  Our church name was given to them as a church that is impacting a rural community.  They came to visit with me about what we do and why we do what we do.  Rural Compassion has been involved in our community in the past.  They were a part of a back to school bash and it was one of the first bashes that Amy and I were a part of at Bridge of Faith.  At that bash, they were responsible for bringing socks and shoes for those who attended the event.  I also remember of a phone call that I received from them wanting to bring us some supplies.  They followed through with a truck load of goodies for us.

My time lately has been amazing.  Steve is getting to know our church and myself in a real way.  It is an encouragement to me that they are willing to support a pastor like myself.  Last Thursday, they came down and took the tour of our church and town.  I followed them back to Springfield and toured their warehouse.  On the way back home, I could not help but to shout praises to our God for his goodness and for making this connection for us.  Steve shared with me the many things that rural compassion/convoy of hope does.  He shared with me ideas of dropping a bag of groceries on every doorstep in our community and inviting them to a community bbq.  He also talked about supplying us with food for our Wednesday night outreach program.  I could not believe what God was doing as I looked out over their warehouse and seen the racks and racks of Goods that could become a part of winning our community to Christ.  The opportunities are limitless and it is clear that we serve a God of unlimited resources.  Over and over I continue to hear that we are in a unique situation to transform our entire city for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Join me in praying as we move forward in this partnership.  It will take the body of Christ to make all this happen and God has gifted you to make things like this happen be sure to use those gifts to bring others to Christ.

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Stay the Course

Old Willows“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” -Philippians 3:13-14

Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to meet with a lady about a benevolence situation.  The lady needed a bus ticket.  I researched the ticket for her and found that the ticket was more than I was willing to spend.  The Holy Spirit continued to nudge me and say, “just pay for the ticket”.  I was unwilling, but the more time I spent with her the more the Holy Spirit nudged me.  Finally, I gave in and said we would do it after I had researched everything to be true.  As I was putting the information in for the bus ticket, the Holy Spirit again nudged me and said, “you are about to send this women off and you don’t know if she knows me.”  So expecting the typical response when you help someone in need, I asked her if she knew Jesus as her Lord and Savior.  Her response, “No”.  I stopped everything I was doing and began to share John 3:16 and that she was a part of the whosoever that Jesus was talking about.  She began to weep.  I continued to share and she responded to me that she wanted to know Jesus.  She weepingly professed Christ as her Savior.  As we finished, I asked her what she felt when she prayed?  She said, “It was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulder and I now have faith.”  Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Praise Jesus, Hallelujah, Jesus Saves, Yes!!!!!

She then went on to tell me and thank me because she said no one had ever taken the time to sit down with her and share this truth.  God’s grace was enough for her.  This my friends is what Bridge of Faith is all about.  Taking the time to care enough to share the Gospel to the hopeless.  This brings me to stay the course.  I can’t think of a person that has joined this church that joined reluctantly, but most have joined with much excitement.  People will say to me, “we have been looking for a church that loves the hopeless for a long time and we can’t wait to be involved here.”  As you are reading this, you might recall the excitement you had as you joined Bridge of Faith.  After some time, the excitement might leave.  What we were once excited about becomes something that we begin to critique.  Our critique develops into bitterness, anger, unloving attitude and many other sins.  When we fail to deal with the sin in our heart, we begin to take our eyes off the course even to the point that when a story of a hopeless lady is shared about her coming to know Christ, we can’t produce excitement because we have allowed our sin to comfortably separate us from God.

As pastor, it is my goal to search ways that we can better carry out the Great Commission.  Some processes or details might have changed over time, but the reason has not changed.  The hundreds of children that come through our door on Wednesday nights are still coming, the hopeless are still giving their lives to Christ, the broken are still being ministered too, Jesus is at work in our church and in our community.  I believe he is wanting to do more through us as a church than he did last year.  May we stay the course.  God impressed upon me last night at Valley Ridge Heart of the Problem study that I may be missing solid food from him because my eyes are not on the course.

“Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly mere infants in Christ.  I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.  Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly.  For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?  Are you not acting like mere men?     1 Corinthians 3:1-3

-Stay the course and press on towards the goal-

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Worship

Yesterday, Matt called me on the phone following his meeting with the cardiologist team.  The team shared with Matt and Brejida that the fluid filling up in Gracie’s lungs was not from the VSD of the heart and that they strongly advised them that they would not operate on her heart.  They had concluded that this was related to respiratory failure and not the vsd. Gracie has had a tough week.  At one point, we were back where we started being one breath away from Gracie being with our Lord.  Doctors (ultimately the Lord) were able to stabilize her until more decisions could be made.  It was just before lunch when Matt called.  God giving Matt and Brejida wisdom to decide not to put Gracie on long term life support.  We wept at the thought of nothing left to do and that doctors would begin to reduce the air flow gradually.  I sank down in my office chair feeling very defeated.  I said I was going to lunch and left not saying anything to anyone.  I was broken.  As I sat alone eating lunch, God began to work in my heart.  Little did I know all that God would once again do.

God laid it upon my heart as a leader to see if I could take a van of Bridge of Faith people to St. Louis and spend time worshiping God with Matt and Brejida.  I sent Matt a text about the idea and he said yes yes yes.  We got the word out and by the end of the night we had 9 signed up to go.  God provided us a van from FBC Forsyth to fit everyone.  We left this morning at 7 AM from the church with a van of 9 people.

We arrived at St. Louis Children’s hospital and called Matt to tell him we were there.  They met us in the lobby and to see Matt and Brejida coming at you with big smiles on their face was priceless.  We all joked and then headed upstairs and for some this would be their first live meeting of Gracie.  We each went back two by two.  Each time it was fun to watch Brejida take people back.  As she led them back, she excitedly led them to meet her beautiful daughter.  She is one proud momma of her little Gracie.  I was the last one and I had been dealing with a cold so I was reluctant to go back.  Matt said put a mask on and lets go.  I walked into her room and was once again shocked by the power of my God.  I talked to her and then I just couldn’t help but to pray for her.  I said lets pray Matt.  I was praying with my eyes open because I couldn’t take my eyes off Gracie.  As I prayed, Gracie looked so lively and looked at me and then smiled.  I thought that was cool and continued to pray.  As I prayed, again she smiled.  It was precious.  It was two smiles but again God moved in my heart through her.  It was just as if God was using her to say I am God and I am in control.  It rocked my day.  I will not forget this time with Gracie as it was precious.  Gracie loves prayer and she is teaching me to love prayer as well.  I left changed.

We went to eat in the cafeteria and then it was off to the chapel.  Matt has spent some time in the chapel and never once has he seen a service going on in there.  He went to reserve it and they said let me check the schedule.  Yeah… there was nothing so we had it 1 till 3.  We started in the chapel with a love song to Matt and Brejida from Cory Terrell as today was their 4 year anniversary.  We then began to worship.  It was sweet.  I like worship when Doctors have lost hope and have nothing left to do.  I like worship when you have heard the end might be near.  Worship becomes worship.  In this moment, their is no one else who can come through.  It placed my heart on the only hope our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  As we worshiped, God continued to lay on my heart that He alone is God and He is Good.  He knows how to give good gifts and he wants us to be persistent in asking, seeking and knocking.  So in the midst of a hopeless to the world situation, I worship a God who is Good and no matter what happens Gracie wins in this deal!!!  I came to comfort Matt and Brejida for the days ahead but God began to show me we are still praying for a girl who is 22 days old and is alive.  He was letting me know He is God and the doctors are not although he uses them for his Glory and he wants us to pray.  Some friends that had an 11 year old boy in the hospital joined us in worship.  That was cool.  I allowed Matt and Brejida and their friends to testify.  It was good.

Worship was worship because God our hope was all that is left even though he has always been all that is left because he has always been in control.  Matt made mention of his sister that was an atheist and had nothing to offer in a situation such as this.  He is thankful he has hope.  Side note isn’t it amazing that some people will worship things that don’t have answers when we have seen answers throughout all this.  Worship was great.  We prayed, we sang, we cried, but most of all we worshiped the God that breathed life into Gracie from day one.  It was cool.

We hung out for a little while longer then made the trip home.  God worked in that as well.  Monday they will again reduce Gracie down gradually and God will be glorified.  God is good and he wants us to pray.  May you join us to fast and pray Monday as God is good and may he be Glorified.

God thank you for today, thank you for those smiles, thank you for prayer, thank you for Matt and Brejida, thank you for my wife who serves you faithfully, thank you for worship, thank you for a church family, thank you for life, thank you for Trisomy 18, thank you for Gracie, thank you for being good all the time, thank you for salvation, and thank you for being God.  You never cease to amaze me.  Thanks for allowing me to serve you.

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To God Be the Glory

To God Be the Glory was the prayer that Matt and Brejida continued to pray as Gracie was about to enter the world.  I had to take a moment even though it is late to write out how God was glorified today.  It started this morning as we were to meet at the hospital at 9:30 to pray before Brejida was to go back at 10:30.  I stopped to get the kids some McDonalds and they were kinda slow but we were fine on time so I just patiently waited.  We got the McDonalds and went on to the hospital.  We arrived at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.  Now, you must understand this is a huge complex and I mean huge with about 4 to 5 different parking garages.  Matt said he would text me where to go but I had not heard from him so I just followed the signs to the south parking garage.  As I pulled in to this massive parking garage, I seen other spots but kept driving to the back of the garage.  As we rounded the corner, guess what?  There was Matt and Brejida getting out of their car and we parked next to them and they were he first people we said hi to this morning upon arriving!!  We met we prayed and Brejida and Matt went back.  At 12:40, Amy got to go back because surgery was starting.  She was going to take as many pictures in case Gracie did not live long.  Gracie was born at 1:43pm.  At about 1:50 the head doctor of the children’s hospital stepped in the waiting room and asked for the pastor.  It was game on.  I was holding Colten I leaped up handed him off to Jaime and went with the doctor.  On the way in, the doctor told me Gracie was not taking breathes on her own and was struggling very much to breathe.  She said that they had asked if they wanted their pastor in there and they said get him.  The doctor called for me because she knew by the signs Gracie would not live much longer.  I threw my scrubs on as fast as I could shaking badly as I tried to get them over my shoes.  The people in the waiting room were continuing to pray.  I stepped in to the operating room and they said get right there with dad and mom.  Amy was snapping pictures faster than I could count.  Matt was saying over and over to Gracie come on breathe Gracie breathe.  I did not know that before they came and got me that they had quickly wrapped Gracie in a blanket and handed her to her mother and said if you want to hold her alive you better hold her now.  She was blue and purple when I first seen her.  I was so joyful to see her and thankful to be with her.  Matt said pray for her Jonathan PRAY!!!  I began to pray and thank God for the life he had given us in Gracie and just praise his name.  Before I prayed, I heard clearly that I was to pray loud enough for others to hear.  I done my best.  I said Amen.  Throughout the prayer she started to cry more.  After the prayer, she cried even more.  It was about five minutes and the doctor came to me specifically before she went to Matt and she said, “Alright her breathing has improved and it is getting better.”  She then walked away.  Amy, Matt, and Brejida will all tell you they were watching Gracie struggle and it looked as though she was going to pass away.  God sustained her life and breathed life into her today.  Gracie was on no machine or receiving any medical attention.  She was in her father’s arms as God began to heal her.  It was a miracle.  I am still amazed even tonight as I type this.  We serve a great God and I am so thankful as this will forever change my prayer life.

It doesn’t end there.  They were ready to take the baby to NICU.  They gathered the family outside the OR so they could see Gracie as she passed through the hallway to the NICU.  The only problem was that Brejida’s mom was not there nor Gracie’s great grandmother (Matt’s Grandma).  It was about 15 minutes from the time they had told them she would be coming and the time she actually came.  In that 15 minutes, Matt’s Grandma showed up from the cafeteria and we tried to page Brejida’s mom so they would not miss it but that failed.  The baby arrived and we all saw her and before they went on with her guess who came off the elevator that’s right the only two who were missing Brejida’s Mom and sister.  They got to see her and this is the only time they would see her until surgery tomorrow.  God works in awesome ways.  Oh yeah Galla and Reene showed up at 10:30am.  They were to take Hannah and Katelyn home with them.  They needed to get stuff out of Matt’s vehicle.  We all walked out together.  Guess where they unknowingly parked.  Right across from where Matt parked.  The best place to move stuff from one vehicle to the other.

As I left tonight, I am thankful for today.  Gracie has two surgeries tomorrow at 1:00.  Am I nervous?  Well, God says do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries of its own.  I am rejoicing in today.  This journey will be a day by day journey and I thank God for today.

God you rocked my world today and I thank you for letting me be a part.  May I forever remember the power of prayer and this day. To God be the Glory. Amen

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5 Reasons We Can’t Stay Here

  1. The Gospel must continue to be shared in every way possible to those who are still in great need of Jesus.

Matthew 28:19-20

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you…

As I read this verse, I think to myself that I must be obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ in the areas that he has called me to serve in.  What if God has called us to a task to see more people come to know him and we choose our own complacency rather than be obedient to him?  This question is one that haunts my mind as I think about moving forward to see lives changed.  If God has given us the ability to move forward, then I can’t help but to move forward so that more lives will be changed for Jesus Christ.  Think for a moment about a great location on main street that is not a church building but is all about seeing the church expanded.  Think about a family that is out thrift shopping and entering this building to be greeted by a faithful follower of Christ.  They are shown mercy and justice in the thrift store and through conversation with the follower of Jesus Christ they in turn have an opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord in Savior.

2.  The church must continue

Bridge of Faith Community Church was planted in January 2005 so that makes us almost 8 years old.  I am confident as a leader that if we don’t invest in the generation behind us, then we will not have a church after we are gone.  In all the blood, sweat and tears, it is my goal to make sure we establish something that outlast me.  We have been so blessed to have been supported by so many church partners, and it is one of my goals that we find a way for this church to last even if we lose church supporters.  I want our people in our community to be the ones who majorly support the work of the ministry.  It is my goal to empower the people of Rockaway to support the ministry they are involved in.  I see this as an opportunity to do more ministry and also put a security blanket around the current ministry so that the church will always continue.  We must reach the ages of 18-25 in our community now.  I am not comfortable waiting for them to turn 25 and see if they come back to church.  These are crucial ages in their lives and I want to see Christ be the center of their lives as they go through this age.  It is so important to make sure what we are doing will outlast personnel, finances, and supporters so that the Kingdom of God will always grow in Rockaway Beach until he returns.

3.  As Christ followers, we must minister to our community with mercy and justice

To minister with mercy is showing compassion or forgiveness to someone, who might need to be punished.  Mercy ministry involves giving to those who are in need.  Mercy is putting clothes on peoples backs, food in their stomach, and a roof over their head.  To minister with justice, is being just to the person you are ministering too.  It is to make sure the person being ministered to feels empowered after the ministry.  The book “Toxic Charity” has shed so much light on this subject to me.  Often when we show mercy without justice we are ministering to make ourselves feel better rather than making the individual feel better.  One way giving leads to empowering the giver and leaving the receiver feeling needy.  Allowing people the opportunity to either receive items of need at a low price or work for the items, gives us the opportunity to show both mercy and justice to those we minister too.  I don’t want to solve all of our community problems because I can’t, but I do want to empower the people of our community so that they can have the resources to enhance our community.


4.  The next generation must be taught

One of the biggest struggles we have as a church is generational sin.  Generational sin is sin that is passed from one generation to the next.  Generational sin is everywhere.  It is the responsibility of the church to stop generational sin in its tracks through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Matthew 28:19 says to go and make disciples of all nations.  The disciple making process involves stopping generational sin.  In making disciples, we must teach people how to follow Christ.  It amazes me when people start to follow Christ and we who have been Christians so long expect them to know how to follow him.  Following Christ, is a learned behavior and not something we should just expect people to know.  It is the churches responsibility to teach the next generation what scripture says about working and following Christ.  Ultimately it is the parents responsibility, but if the parent is unwilling then the church should be willing to teach the next generation.  We could set back and complain about the generation behind us, or we could be ministers of reconciliation and teach the next generation behind us.  If we expect the next generation to support the ministry in the future, then we must teach them now to work in order to support the ministry in the future.  I am unwilling to set back and let the government try to fix the problems that the church has the answers too.  It is our responsibility to teach the next generation how to follow Christ.  Students today know how to use the internet in so many ways, and it is a goal for us to teach students how to make an honest living from the internet.  It is my desire to see students dependence to sell drugs for the family to decrease and totally eliminate drugs in the family by instructing students how to make money off the internet.  I want to teach them that they do have the resources available to help them succeed.

5.  It will Continue to Transform our Community

It is our goal as a church to see individual lives transformed and those individual lives transform our community.  I have no doubt this will continue to transform our community.  This will transform the youth and adults lives who take part in it.  I can see us investing in lives and businesses calling us to hire their employees because we will work to train up Christ like employees that work with integrity and honesty.  It will also transform our community by utilizing the internet to draw foot traffic to our area, and I know other businesses will benefit from this.  It will change our community be teaching people how to work for Christ and live with integrity.  I have seen in our community, through ministering to children, the number of cases of vandalism decrease over the years.  It is my hope that teaching people to live for Christ will change our community.

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