I Can Say That

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. -Acts 4:20 (NKJV)

Too often we may feel as if we have to be someone special in order to be a witness. That notion tends to keep us bound by fear and anxiety which will ultimately stop us from saying or doing anything for God. I believe we can learn a valuable lesson from the early disciples of Jesus in the above verse. When they were commanded not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus Christ they didn’t lay down a theological discourse for the religious leaders. Their response was simple. They spoke of the things they witnessed for themselves.

Those things which you have seen and heard about Jesus is enough for you to be a witness to those around you.

God’s not asking you to be the best orator or have the most profound stories. God’s looking for you to be available and to tell the truth. To speak those things that you know to be true based on what you’ve heard and seen him do. It takes everyone doing their part and God needs you to be a witness.

The question I believe we must ask today is, “Am I going to be silent about what God has done in my life.”

What are your thoughts?

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A Christ Follower Loves One Another [Amplified] – Lesson Notes

A Christ Follower Loves One Another [AMPLIFIED]
Wed. August 28, 2013 – North Aiken Church of God

Proverbs 17:9,14,17

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the example of love.

  1. Christ gave a new command, “that we love one another.”
  2. Our love for one another should be the same way in which Jesus loved us
  3. Our love for one another reflects that we are truly followers of Christ.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

In essence, the command to love is not conditional. I don’t get to choose who I love. Jesus has already set the framework – the boundaries – for believers. Your love for one another isn’t based on what they have done to you or how they have treated you. Furthermore it is not even based on how much they may or may not love you.

The goal of this message is to reveal three practical ways in which every believer can love one another from Proverbs 17. A believer exemplifies love for one another when they watch their words, settle disagreements quickly, and are loyal to one another.

I see love being more than just a saying in your life but an action.

What You Need to Know?

  1. Our words are powerful we must watch what we say about one another. (see Proverbs 17:9)
    1. Relationships are built on trust
    2. We have a responsibility to help one another. Not to spread their business.

     

  2. Disagreements will happen. When they do we must settle them quickly. (see Proverbs 17:14)
    1. Contention will last only so long between two individuals until there is a blow up.
    2. When we notice disconnect between one another we must be quick to settle disagreements.

     

  3. Loyalty goes a long way and is a deep connection between believers. (see Proverbs 17:17)
    1. The difference between friends and brothers
      • There is a sense of loyalty among friends, you choose it.
      • There is a sense of duty among brothers, you’re born into it.
      • Believers are both/and.

“Love motivated by mere duty cannot hold out for very long.” – The Love Dare (2008)

What You Need to Do?

Make the decision to follow Christ’s example and love one another.

Am I Speaking Clearly

11 we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. – Acts 2:11 (NKJV)

Have you ever been misunderstood?

Have there been times between someone else speaking and it getting to your ears you completely misunderstand the point and are left dazed?

In reading Acts 2 I am encouraged. I am encouraged because I am reminded once again that the Holy Spirit working in our lives has the ability to empower you and I to be an effective witnesses. Though the disciples of Jesus Christ were unlearned in speaking to the various dialects of those that were in Jerusalem for Pentecost, they were empowered to speak in a tongue (language) they haven’t learned as they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were supernaturally infused with the gift to speak of the wonderful works of God in a way that those who were there could understand. This stopped me dead in my tracks this morning as I read this passage and the thought hit me.

Are we speaking clearly to those around us on a day to day basis the wonderful works of God or is it just noise?

Simply, when others are around us are they able to state the following… “There is no doubt something is different about (insert your name here). What in the world could that difference be.” The point is this, our witness must be compelling, our witness must be engaging, and our witness must be clear. Your witness can only be those things by the supernatural empowering of the Holy Spirit. Determine today that as a believer you are going to allow the Holy Spirit to empower you in order to speak clearly to those around you.

Any thoughts? Any insight? Continue the conversation by leaving a comment.

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The Waiting Period

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:4-5,8 (NKJV)

The Waiting Period

I am learning that in order for things to work effectively and smoothly systems have to be in place. Our life is made up of systems. We have a system for everything we do. Even those who say they are unorganized have a system in place. Our morning routine is a system. The day to day activities at our job is a system. Our life is full of systems. In order to advance the message of Jesus Christ a system was implemented.

Today as a Church we moved into the book of Acts in our six month journey through the New Testament. I am reminded that Jesus instructed his Disciples to follow a system in order to be effective with sharing their faith (being witnesses). I will call this system, the waiting period. Being effective at doing any “one thing” we have to be empowered to do it. It could mean a certain strength, skill set, or knowledge must be acquired. Each of those things empower us, yet they come through a period of waiting. It doesn’t happen over night and you have to work at it.

In order to be effective in our life an ministry waiting is necessary. The disciples were asked to wait in order that they may be empowered to be a witness. A witness simply confesses what they have seen and heard. Yet, Jesus taught that in order for his followers to tell what they have seen and heard, it would take power. Waiting was necessary. For us, waiting is still necessary. I am learning that the waiting period is an important part of our life. Some people have a hard time waiting. I know I do, but our ministries and and personal life will be better off if we learned to implement the system of waiting.

What’s one piece of advice you can share as it relates to waiting? Be sure to leave a comment below.

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Join Me at the “Oasis Pastor’s Conference”

Oasis Pastor's Conference 2013

One of the best ways to grow is by learning from people who have been where you are. This can come through different means. It could be meeting one on one, video or conference calls, reading, or attending conferences or seminars.

I am learning that you have have to be deliberate in order to get to the place you feel that God is leading. There are a few ways I am trying to become more deliberate in order to become a better Minster and Pastor. One way I am doing this is by incorporating a few conferences in my calendar each year for the purpose of growing. I was blessed back in the spring of this year to attend the Pastor’s Retreat put together by leaders within our denomination and came away having built new friendships and practical ways for me to become better at what God has called me to do.

I am looking forward to being a part of the Oasis Pastors Conference on September 16-17, 2013. It is going to be held at High Praises Church in Anderson, SC. The cost is very reasonable $35.00 for the registration (not counting room and meals). I am excited about learning something that may help me become a better Pastor as I serve the congregation of North Aiken Church of God.

I encourage you to take the time and make plans to attend. Honestly, if you are a new Pastor (within your first two years of ministry) do what ever you can to attend. Don’t isolate yourself, make a deliberate attempt to learn and grow. You and the people you are called to serve deserve it.

Dark Day’s Can Be A Blessing

John 18: 12-14 (NKJV)Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year. Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

There was no doubt John 18 leads up to what could be said as the darkest day in History. In today’s post I want to highlight a post which my wife wrote in April. May the following offer you insight and encouragement.

Dark Day’s Can Be  Blessing

Have you ever been in the midst of something that you wanted to overcome so badly?
Whether its a job situation, a financial strain, a less than ideal living circumstance, or something else less than “ideal”.

You just begin to exist in your life praying that you will overcome your situation sooner rather than later.

Then, the day comes. Something happens, God answers your prayers, the tides change. The end of your trial has been determined and a new journey is beginning. Adios old job, hello better finances. Goodbye gray days, thank God for sunny skies ahead.

Then, days, weeks, months, maybe even years, pass. You realize. Those long ago gray days weren’t actually as awful as they seemed when you were in the midst of them. They were really just tests and trials that you needed to overcome to be the you God wanted you to be.

He was molding you into the person He designed. You begin to thank God for your trial. For the dark days that you thought would never cease. And you realize in the end, your thankful for the dark times. Thankful for how it changed you because even in the dark days, God was leading you…

Chanelle Tallmage, Apr. 2013 | She Provides Food

Keep Pressing Forward!

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Authority and Guts

John 16:1-4 (NKJV)

These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.

It’s a great feeling to know you have been empowered in order to accomplish a certain duty. Many times the thought of failing can cripple us and cause us to stop before we ever get started. Our good intentions, our desires, our duty gets placed on the back burner and other things get moved to the front burner of our lives.

Accomplishing any thing requires authority and guts.

In this passage of Scripture I see that Jesus offered his disciples just that, Authority and Guts (confidence). Keep in mind Jesus is dropping a bombshell on his closest followers. In a very short amount of time Jesus will be gone and the disciples will be left to continue on the message of redemption that came through Jesus’ death on the cross. This message wouldn’t be spread on their own but with the help of the Holy Spirit comforting, teaching, and empowering them. Though the power of His words Jesus gave them authority and confidence to keep going and spreading his message even though they would encounter all sorts of peril such as but not limited to; Being thrown out of their place of worship, being killed and those who do the killing will do it thinking they are doing it for God. Ultimately he was saying don’t be surprised when these things happen neither allow it to cause you to fall back.

Authority and Guts go a long way.

Jesus spoke in advance so that when those perilous things began to take place it would not take them by surprise. When you have the Authority to do something and the Guts to see it through your able to keep going forward when others fall back.

Keep Pressing Forward!

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Teaching Your Lesson for Maximum Effectiveness

Exodus 18:20
And you shall teach them the statutes and the Laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.

Sometimes when receiving the outline to teach a lesson you can be left with the question, “How are the kids I teach supposed to grasp this?” Upon reading the lesson you may feel as if it is above their heads or too childish. The truth is this is where one of your most important jobs come in to play. It is up to you to take the lesson provided and make sure that your age group has the opportunity to clearly hear the gospel and respond.

The goal of this post is to help those who teach in the children’s ministry at the North Aiken Church of God take their weekly lesson and adapt it to their age group they have been entrusted to teach.

After going over this material I see you going into your class this Sunday and teaching the Gospel to your students in a way they will be able to understand and implement as they go throughout their week.

What You Need to Know:

1)    You have been entrusted to teach God’s word this week to the children in your care.

  1. You feel called of God to invest in the lives of the students.
  2. Your Pastor has appointed you to instruct them.
  3. The parents of those you are teaching are trusting that you are going to invest in their child’s life.

2)    You have the tools in order to teach the children in your care God’s word.

  1. You have a Bible
  2. A lesson has been prepared
  3. The time you’ve spent alone with God this week has empowered you to be able to teach effectively.

3)    Your life has to set the example

  1. How you live outside of the class points them as to how they are to respond
  2. Your life shows them how to walk (live)
  3. Your life shows them how to work (what they must do)

What You Need to Do

1)    Begin by praying before opening the material

  1. Pray that God would open his word up to you and you would deliver it in a way that is effective.
  2. Pray over each child that will be in your class

2)    Get to know the material

  1. Read the Lesson Title
  2. Look up the passage of scripture that is going to be talked about and read it from your Bible
  3. Read the Big Idea
  4. Look up the memory verse and read it from your Bible

3)    Read through the Bible Lesson from your Outline

  1. 1st read through it just to become familiar with how the writer explained the Bible passage
  2. 2nd read through it and make notes and reword what you feel would help your age group understand the lesson.
  3. 3rd read through it and make notes of things that you can do in order to help your age group comprehend the subject matter. (Such as visuals, actions, or involvement.)

4)    Arrive prepared to teach your lesson

  1. Arrive with a smile on your face ready to teach your Group the truth from God’s word
  2. As you enter the room and set up your area pray over each chair in representation of a child that will be attending.
  3. Prior to service starting until completion of the service find ways to engage in the lives of the Children you have been entrusted to teach.

Remember, your goal is to take the lesson you have been provided and teach it effectively to those in your care. The words you speak and the actions you portray have the opportunity to lead each child in your care closer to making a decision to follow Christ. By following the above approach you will see that you will have a great impact in the lives of your students.

The point is this, God has called you, Your Pastor has appointed you, and the Parents are trusting you, you can teach effectively this week and in the weeks to come.

Wednesday’s Lesson Notes Aug. 21, 2013

Below is the outline I will be using during tonight’s lesson. I have been working over the last couple of months from an outline template that was passed down from Pastor Kemp. He has posted a helpful post  detailing the process he goes through when preparing a sermon/lesson HERE. This system, when I stick to it, helps my thoughts flow better and also helps me to stay on topic. Another benefit is that it keeps me within a reasonable time frame which shows respect for those who have taken the time to come out and hear the word. Here’s the thing. I have had more positive feedback from those in the congregation about how they were impacted by the message when I have taken the time to present the message in this fashion.

I am posting the basic outline here on the blog as a trial. I will start by giving a brief recap of Sunday’s message and then spend a few moments amplifying it. This method on Wednesday nights impacted me greatly in my journey with Christ while attending Central Church, Hilton Head during MIP. Maybe those who are making plans to attend service at North Aiken Church of God during our Wednesday Worship Service will find it helpful.

Go and Sin No More [Amplified]
Proverbs 16

The essence of this message is Jesus’ death on the cross was the place where he set the example and displayed compassion toward us. For those who believe in Him and commit to following him; we have to make a conscious decision to walk away from the sin he delivered us from.

The goal of this message is to point out 3 things from Proverbs 16 that can help you to continually walk in the freedom of Christ.

I see each of us renewing our commitment to Christ and developing the following habits in our daily life;
Releasing ownership to Jesus Christ,
Removing arrogance from our life, and
Reviewing each path available to us and choosing the one which reflects wholeness in Jesus Christ.

What You Need to know?

Success comes by committing what I do to the Lord.
Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV) – Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.

My way is not the best way
Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV) – Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.

What seems right isn’t always the right way.
Proverbs 16:25 (NKJV) – There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

What You Need to do?

Release Ownership
Remove Arrogance from your life and establish that we are all a mess apart from Jesus.
Review each Path before you; choose only the one that leads you closer to Christ.

Your Personal Declaration:

I will not go back to who I was before Christ.
I will not allow my life to be controlled by the sin that separated me from Christ.

I will release ownership of all to Jesus Christ; Jesus you own all the rights, profits, and I just work for you. I trust you as sole owner to provide all I need.

I will remove all arrogance and will refuse to exalt self or my own works. I will point all things back to Jesus Christ.

I will review each road before me; the course that best reflects the standards (and your will) from your word will be the one I follow.

Who’s Writing that I Need to be Reading

It’s simple,

Who do I need to reading as it relates to online content such as blogs?

Who are you reading and how are they impacting your life through their blog?

Let me know by leaving a comment with their blog and web address. Also, don’t forget to point me to your blog if you have one.