Be Friendly

be-friendly

We all want solid friendships. Research shows the quality of life increases according to the quality of our friendships. So, friendship really is important to our everyday living. The Bible helps us see that God created us to be relational. We were created for relationship with Him first and then with others. By the way, that order is super important! A relationship with God absolutely increases the quality of your relationships with others.

Understanding these things, many are left wondering why friendship and quality relationship elude them. Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, gave us the proverb that answers this question.

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:
And there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24

If we want friendship, we then have to be friendly. This may not come naturally for you. In fact, you may really struggle with stepping out and being friendly. Maybe you freeze up and just don’t know what to say. Don’t give up! With intentional effort, you will find that you can show yourself friendly. I am going to pass along a guide for being friendly in conversation. It is not original with me. It comes from a pastor, whom I respect, by the name of Carl Herbster.

“How to be Friendly and Carry a Conversation”

F: family (husband,wife,kids)

R: roles (job,positions)

I: interests (hobbies,likes)

E: education(school,training)

N: neighborhood (where live)

D: denomination (church)

S: salvation (Christ)

Let’s seek to be friendly wherever we are and discover just how fun it is.

 

Our Purpose

 

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This year, at Grace Baptist Church, we are our learning our purpose and priorities. More than anything, we want to accomplish the purpose that Christ has given us to accomplish. In Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” This is a huge, monumental undertaking! However, as one man said, “Through God’s power, our faithfulness is always possible.” We have a purpose and we must faithfully engage in that purpose.

This past Vision Sunday, I was excited to reveal our public church purpose statement. Our purpose is to engage in the complete fulfillment of the Great Commission of Christ through the power of the Spirit to the glory of God. 

During this first quarter of the year, I am preaching and teaching our priorities—how we will accomplish our purpose. I believe that accomplishing such a God-sized purpose requires that we plan and prioritize. You can listen to the message at our website, facebook or podcast.

Your Impact

 

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You have the unique, unspeakable power to impact others who live around you. When I speak of impact, I am talking about the ability to influence the direction, decisions and destiny of others. You have heard the statement, “No man is an island unto himself.” Simply put, every action, word and decision that you make influences the actions, words and decisions that others in your life make.

Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

None of us slip into life and back out without making some kind of impact in the lives of others.

Take a moment to consider both the kind of impact and the amount of impact you are making. If you are like me, you will be left thinking, “How can I impact others more?”  The best way to maximize impact is to simply love God with all of your heart, soul and mind. Your impact will be directly proportionate to your relationship with God.

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus

Following Christ in the Last Day

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Deadlines bring about a certain amount of focus and yes, panic. If you are a procrastinator, you have experienced the panic of deadlines. Perhaps it is a report or presentation that was due at your job. Maybe a research paper for that college class. Regardless, you can identify with the feeling experienced at deadlines.

The events of the past weeks in America have cause many believers to be reminded once again that we are in the last days. The Bible tells us about the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1-4.

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 

Current events are a vivid display of many of these descriptions. We see disobedience and lawlessness. There is ungratefulness and a care less attitutde about life. Dishonesty and slander are a norm. Self-contol is not practiced and we see a rise in uncivilized behavior. Note the word ‘fierce’ in verse three. It literally means untamed and is the idea of uncivilized. The list goes on, but what we are seeing in our county is what the Bible told us would happen in the last days. I am not saying “All hope is lost.” There is always hope in turning to Jesus Christ!

With all that said, I believe that followers of Christ must be very purposeful in these day. I want to share three practical ways the last days should affect our living.

  1. We need to Increase our Gathering Together (25)
    It is popular to attend church gatherings once a week. In fact, over the last decade or so, the number of people who have quit attending church as risen by 30% which translates into 38 million people. That is the cultural trend. Yet God told us in Hebrews 10:25 that our gatherings should increase as we see the day approaching. Church is not something to be skipping out on in the day that we live. You need it and the rest of the church needs you there as well. Don’t look at gathering with other believers as a burden, it is one of the ways God designed for your burdens to be lifted. I cannot be more emphatic about this, you need to gather with believers whenever the gathering is happening. It is for your good and for the good of others.
  2. We need to Intensify our Focus on our Mission
    When you are running a race, as you get down to the end, there is an intensity that builds. Your focus is not on those behind you or around you, but on the finish line. We are getting down to the end and followers of Jesus ought to have an intensified focus. We need to stop being distracted by temporal endeavors or petty issue and get focused. Bitterness that been held onto for years must be confessed and forsaken. Apathy about the lost must be turned to passion. Priorities need to be adjusted and aligned with Christ’s purpose for putting us here at this time and in this country. Christ mission was “…to seek and to save that which was lost.” Our mission statement ought to be Matthew 28:19-20 and every activity of our life ought to be focused on accomplishing it someway.
  3. We need to Increase our Encouragement of Others (24)
    Our world is hurting. Many followers of Christ are hurting. Don’t be a critic that adds to the burdens of others. Be an encourager that lifts burdens and points people to the  Burden Bearer—Jesus Christ. Learn to pray with others, not just tell them you will pray for them. Use your social media to encourage with God’s Word and testimony of His goodness and mercy. Remember that Jesus often had His schedule disrupted in order to meet needs. If you will encourage others, you will have to be fine with being flexible. You will have to be ready to sacrifice what you were going to do in order to encourage a hurting heart.

Which of these areas do you need to increase and intensify in your life as you follow Christ? May God give you grace and strength to follow Christ in these last days.

Listen to the sermon Following Christ in the Last Days

Following Christ in the Last Days Keynote

Love and Hate

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All around us we see hate rising. Hate is not a new thing. Since the fall of man there has been hate. Do you remember Cain and how his hate toward his brother Abel led him to commit murder? Hate is the result of many other sins like envy, pride, greed, covetousness and prejudice. It is rampant in our society!

Jesus taught His followers to be different. He encouraged them to show love no matter if they were shown love. Luke 6:32 says, “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.” Society around shows hate to those who hate them and love to those who love them. The followers of Jesus are to love and keep on loving. People around you toward are thirsty for genuine love. Refresh someone today with a loving spirit just like Jesus.

Why I Still Believe in Door-to-Door

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There are few methods of evangelism that I enjoy more than door-to-door evangelism! I love getting out, meeting new people, taking time to hear their story and then offering them hope in Jesus Christ. I have had people stop me in the local store remembering me stopping by their door and have an opportunity to continue the conversation. While there are some who would not use this method, I want to share with you some reasons that I still believe that door-to-door evangelism is a method we should employ in our churches today.

  1. Biblical Method—This ought to be the basis of any method that we employ in our church ministries. Throughout the book of Acts we find that the early church and its leaders were active in teaching the Gospel by two methods. They taught it publicly and from house to house. Acts 5:42 “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:20 “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,” I believe that this Biblical method is time honored and very practicable today!
  2. Measurable Method—We have been commissioned by Jesus to preach the Gospel. Acts 1:8 tells us that we are to be His witnesses in our own cities and throughout the whole world. We can witness on street corners, at parades and other public events, but none of those are measurable. They do not allow us to know that we have touched the whole city with the message of the Gospel. I believe in using all kinds of methods, but nothing allows us to measure progress like door-to-door.

    At Grace Baptist Church we measure our progress with a map system. We have a book of maps in a three ring binder. Members check out a map that with a highlighted street. They take the Outreach Cards that are in use at that time and go out in teams of two knocking on the doors. They turn in the map once they have completed it. The street is then marked as accomplish on our large progress map which is displayed off our lobby.

  3. Personal Method—Businesses covet word of mouth advertising. Personal endorsements of a product or business are extremely powerful. I believe this is one of the reasons that God told us to go and verbally share Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). He created us and knows that we respond to the witness or testimonials of others.
  4. Involving Method—Ephesians 4:12 tells us that every believer is a minister. Acts 1:8 tells us that we are all witnesses. I believe that every Christian should be actively involved in sharing Jesus Christ in their community. I believe the church should organize, equip and encourage believers to be obedient to the Great Commission. Door-to-door soulwinning provides opportunity for everyone to be involved.

    Recently I shared an outreach vision with our church call Target 45429. It is our goal to knock each door in this area three times before moving on to other parts of our city. There is a large opportunity for many to be involved. Furthermore, there are some who legitimately cannot get out there on the sidewalks for health reasons. I shared with them that we need people to come meet at church while soulwinning is in progress and pray that God will empower those out knocking doors. We also need babysitters so that younger families can be involved. These are additional and important ways for believers to be involved.

  5. Proven Method—I can think of people right now in our church that have be reached in that past several years by door-to-door. I was recently on a ministry trip with our teens and my wife had the opportunity to lead  lady to Jesus at the door. She has been attending her church and has even brought a guest. Maybe you can think of a story of someone in your church reached through door-to-door.

Don’t give up on this awesome method! Get a map of your city, divide it up and determine to knock on every door in your city. You will be amazed how God will bless your desire and faithfulness in the harvest.