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Archive for the ‘Resources For Your Christian Walk’ Category

Jesus in the hood

John 1:14 (The Message)

The Word became flesh and blood,
    and moved into the neighborhood.

I have just finished reading this AWESOME book called, Joining Jesus on His Mission: How to Be an Everyday Missionary, written by Greg Finke. It is a must read for any Christian who wants to join with Jesus in His mission, right now, right where you are.

In recent years America has become the largest mission field in the world. This country that I love has been gradually turning away from God and turning, instead to money, materialism, consumerism, and a me, me, me attitude. We feed our hearts and our minds, not on the things of God, but of the latest blockbuster that Hollywood throws at us. Unfortunately, American Christians are no better. We dream of building the largest churches that anyone has ever seen, but we waste millions of dollars in the process. We dream of having so many converts and baptisms that it takes hours to baptize them all, but we forget to disciple them in their everyday lives. We dream of having so many programs to entertain and feed those inside our church walls, but we forget about those suffering in our communities.

If Jesus were walking among us now, would He like what He sees in this land of plenty?

Matthew 25:34-40

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

NEWS FLASH FRIENDS: JESUS IS HERE!!!

Jesus is here, walking among us. He is the homeless man that sleeps on the street. He is the foster child that needs a home. He is the single mom that needs help to feed her kids. He is the stranger at the checkout line that doesn’t have enough money to pay. He is the teenage girl who is scared to death to tell her parents that she is pregnant. He is the inmate on death row. He is your neighbor that is down on his luck and needs someone to talk to. Jesus IS here and He walks among us EVERY DAY!

In his book Joining Jesus on His Mission, Greg Finke gives us practical suggestions on how to be everyday missionaries in our neighborhoods (work, school, community, etc.). He reminds us that “we are the presence of Jesus made tangible in our families, neighborhoods, workplaces and schools.” God has called us, as Christians to “Go! And make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). That doesn’t mean that we need to pack our bags and move to Africa or some other far off place. It simply means to be present in your sphere of influence. Look for opportunities that God is giving you right now to touch someone and let them know that God loves them. There is no reason why America should be the largest mission field in the world. We have plenty of missionaries, in every community of the U.S.A. Greg Finke gives us 5 mission practices that will help us, as christians, live out our calling to be every day missionaries in our communities:

1. Seeking the Kingdom- Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek first the kingdom of God. What is Jesus showing us in our communities? What is He inviting us to notice and do? Be aware of those around you and be open to the opportunities that God may be giving you as you go about your day to love someone to Jesus.

2. Hearing from Jesus- In Matthew 17:5 God tells us, “This is my Son, whom I love…Listen to him!” We need to listen to what Jesus is telling us through the Word of God. Do we know Jesus well enough to know what He is telling us? Dig into the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and take some time to really understand what Jesus asks of us. Allow the Holy Spirit to move you from simply hearing the words to finding out what happens when we put them into practice. Listen!

3. Talking with People- Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” once said that, “It’s hard not to like someone once you know their story.” You can’t find out a person’s story unless you talk to them. I know this is hard for some introverts. I am an introvert, so the concept of reaching out to people and striking up a conversation is a tough one for me. It is what God calls us to do, though. He calls each of us to build relationships and TALK to each other. Get to know a person’s story before you judge him or her. Reach out in love and compassion to your neighbors. Find out who they really are. You might be surprised by what you find out.

4. Doing Good- Mother Teresa was known for saying that, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” People call them “random acts of kindness”, but I prefer to call them “intentional acts of love.” We are to love our neighbors through acts of love. A kind word, a meal to a sick neighbor, mowing the lawn of an elderly person, or simply sending an encouraging word in a card or letter. People respond to love. It may take some time to build relationships to the point of introducing Jesus, but never give up. Keep loving on that hard to love neighbor and you will find that Jesus is in the ‘hood.

5. Ministering through Prayer- I will admit that praying out loud for someone is a very difficult thing for me and I have missed God-given opportunities to be Jesus to someone because I let my fear take over. People will usually accept the opportunity to have someone pray for/with them. Praying with someone bonds us to them in a way that little else can. We have become active participants in their circumstances. We are in a position to give a person hope through a simple prayer. Never underestimate the power of praying with a person over their circumstances.

I am challenging every christian to read this book, Joining Jesus on His Mission: How to Be an Everyday Missionary, written by Greg Finke. It will change how you look at missionaries and the mission field. We are ALL called to be missionaries in our own lives. Make this book a part of a small group study. To order the book, click here.

Jesus isn’t locked up in the heavens. He is here, dwelling among us in the ‘hood. We are the tangible presence of Jesus to those around us. Never forget how you can impact someone’s life for the good or bad. Choose to be Jesus in your neighborhood and see how God will manifest Himself,  simply because you stepped out in obedience.

 

 

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mercy in the city

 

 

Mercy in the City: How to Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to

the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job

By: Kerry Weber

Matthew 25:35-40

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

In Mercy in the City Kerry decides that in addition to giving up sweets and alcohol for Lent, she wants to try to complete all the corporal works of mercy, as listed in the above Bible passage. She takes us through her Lenten journey of carrying out these works of mercy and how it changes her heart and her relationship with God.

What is interesting though, and the hook that got me to buy the book, was that she carries out these acts of mercy while working a full-time job! The critic inside me said that this was impossible, but she does achieve her goal. Granted, there were times when Kerry would rather have slept in, but she still got up and found her way to serve at the early morning food line for the homeless.

There were times when Kerry carried out her task in seemingly difficult ways, but her heart was always touched by those that she stepped out to serve.

What Kerry taught me, is that if you really want to serve others and serve God, you will find a way. If we step out in small ways to serve each other, we may find that we have more energy to complete our other tasks. We will develop a passion for life and a desire to give. The bonus to all of this, is that our relationship with God will grow abundantly, as we step out to serve.

To buy the book click HERE

 

 

 

 

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when-a-woman

 

When a Women Overcomes Life’s Hurts is written from a christian perspective and gives us Biblical tools in dealing with life’s heartaches.

Cindi walks us through the 10 steps toward healing and wholeness:

1. Realize there’s a reason-and a purpose-behind your pain. 

God has a purpose for our heartaches. We can not see what the future holds, only God can. He will bring good out of the pain.

2. Reshape your understanding of God through the Scriptures.

When we dig into the Word, we get a better understanding of the true characteristics of God.

3. Reject the lie that God doesn’t care about the hurt you’ve experienced. 

God will always be there, to walk through life with us. He loves us and cares deeply when our hearts are broken. He is working it all out for our good.

4. Re-examine-and receive-the healing power of Jesus’ death for you on the cross.

Jesus died so we may live. That includes being completely healed from past hurts. Jesus wants to see us living our lives joyfully. He gave His life, so that we may live and live abundantly.

5. Renew your mind to think differently.

When we accept Jesus into our lives, we become a new person. We are made whole. We are given a new identity in Christ.

6. Relinquish your right to yourself.

God wants us to surrender our lives to Him. We need to let go of our present, past, or future and give it all to God. Our lives are not our own. We belong to God.

7. Recognize the difference between real and distorted love.

God’s love is the one and only true love. His love will satisfy like no other can.

8. Release your offender-and yourself-through forgiveness.

Allow yourself to feel the freedom that forgiveness brings. Release yourself from that prison of anger.

9. Refresh your soul by praising God in your pain.

God is in control and can bring blessing from our heartache. Praise Him in the storm.

10. Reinvest in the lives of others. 

God wants to turn your pain into His purpose for your life. Reach out to others who may be dealing with a broken heart and need the touch of God in their lives.

Cindi has used this book to help women find healing from their pain. True healing can come only from God. She walks women through the process to finding that healing through the love of Christ.

If you find yourself needing healing from past hurts, I encourage you to read this book. Every woman has dealt with the pain of life. This book can help you heal and move on.

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