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The whole area of service is a very important one in the Christian life. The importance can be seen in the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea in the Holy Land. The two bodies of water are connected by the Jordan River in a direct north-south line along the Great Rift Valley. Clear, sweet water from underground springs flows into the Sea of Galilee. And the Sea of Galilee flows south into the Jordan. Galilee is a gorgeous, active lake, full of life that has sustained fishermen in the region for millennia. The Dead Sea, by contrast, is a shallow, selfish basin with no outlet. It hoards the water that flows into it. Some water evaporates, leaving behind brackish, clouded water so dense that swimmers bob like corks. The whole sea is dead.
When we as Christians have no outlet of service, we too can become spiritually dead, and stagnant. Instead of our faith being attractive, life giving and fruitful, we become as off-putting as a stagnant pond.
Lyle Schaller in speaking about the challenges of the church said - "The biggest challenge for the church at the opening of the twenty-first century is to develop a solution to the discontinuity and fragmentation of the American lifestyle." (The Connecting Church, Randy Frazee, p. 37)
Larry Crabb wrote in his book Connecting, “We have made a terrible mistake! For most of this century we have wrongly defined soul wounds as psychological disorders and delegated their treatment to trained specialists. Damaged psyches aren’t the problem. The problem is disconnected souls. What we need is connection. What we need is a healing community.”
D. Greg Ebie
Take a moment and poke yourself in the bellybutton (I’d tell you to poke your neighbor, but that might get us into trouble!) Our navel is a constant reminder that we all started life connected to another human being (Dr. Richard Dobbins, founder Emerge Ministries). We spend al...
Dallas Willard, professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Philosophy, offers this observation about the church - "By the middle of this [twentieth] century, [the church] had lost any recognized, reasonable, theologically and pychologically sound approach to spiritual growth, to really becoming like Christ." (The Connecting Church, Randy Frazee, pp. 52-53)
After connecting deeply and intimately with a friend who he’d only had a shallow relationship for years, the German poet Goethe wrote these words:
The world is so empty
if one only thinks
of mountains, rivers, and cities;
but to know someone
who thinks and feels with me,
and who, though distant
is close to me in spirit,
this makes the earth for me
an inhabited garden.
All the veneration of Spring connects itself with love.
A.B. Simpson says in his book "A Larger than Christian life" and I quote: “It is all connected with a living person. We are not filled with an influence; we are not filled with a sensation; we are not filled with a set of ideas and truths; we are not filled with a blessing, but we are filled with a person. This is very strange and striking. It is wholly different from all other teaching.
Human systems of philosophy and religion all deal mainly with intellectual truths, moral conditions or external acts.
Greek philosophy was a system of ideas; Con...
A Graduates Call
(Lord, teach us to pray)
Once Christian Graduates are continually feeding on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will move them to be like the disciple who came to Jesus and said, "...Lord teach us to pray..." (Luke 11:1)
A popular term used today is "What would Jesus do." He would pray about everything. Jesus prayed at His baptism, (Luke 3:21) He prayed before the choosing of the twelve, (Luke 6:12) when the crowds began to increase, (Luke 5:16) before He asked the twelve for their confession of faith, (Luke 9:18) and at His Transfiguration. (Luke 9:29) The disciples knew that He often prayed alone (Mark 1:25) and it is only natural that those who know Him would ask Him to teach them to pray. If Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God depended on prayer during His days on this earth (Hebrews 5:7) then why should it seem out of place for us to be obedient to God's Word that tells us to, "...pray continually..." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Prayer finds its heart in the personality of God, His ability and willingness to communicate with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It involves a sure knowing that He has personal control in everything in our lives, in all things and over all creatures. Christians who believe these truths have no problem connecting with God in prayer. Abraham's servant connected in prayer and the Lord directed him to the person who should be the wife to his master's son. (Genesis 24:10-20)
Christian graduates are to be like Ezra and Nehemiah. Nehemiah prayed and asked the Lord to grant him favor with the Emperor of Persia. (Nehemiah 1:4-11) Ezra knew that it was God who put it in the king's heart to honor the house of the Lord. (Ezra 7:27-28)
Christian graduates who will enjoy Biblical success are those who will approach Jesus in every part of their lives and say, "Jesus, teach us to pray!
To be a missional church does not mean adding a bunch more programs but building relationships with people that we know and love and that Jesus knows and loves by simply being with them along the journey of life and helping them connect with God as we go along. Jim Kane