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Taking our faith Public

Today at Coastal Community Church Pastor Chris talked to us about Taking our Faith Public. Here are five points Pastor Chris encouraged us to consider as we invite folks to church for Easter Sunday.

  • Pray for your unchurched friends

At coastal we have been challenged to have an “invite and invest” card in our wallet. On that card we write down the names of three people who we know that are not going to church and need a relationship with Christ. We write down those names and we are challenged to pray for those people on a daily basis. As we pray for them we are reminding ourselves of their need and it keeps them in the forefront of our minds. It reminds us when opportunities arise with those people to invite them to church.

  • Look for ways to tell others that you are a christian

We were reminded that there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. We should not be obnoxious or push about our faith. We should find moments in time where it would be natural to mention the different activities that we are involved in at church. As christians we should have a christ centered view and not a world view.   

  • Invest in others by serving them.

Many years ago I learned the following lesson and Chuck Swindoll coined this phrase. “People do not care how much we know until they know how much we care”. No one wants to hear the same old hell fire and brimstone mantra. Who wants to hear that they are going to go to hell and burn for eternity if they do not join a church or get saved? Do we really believe that unchurched people understand our church jargon? It is not our job to convert or change anyone. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to love people and to live life in front of them and with them. We should show people the love of Christ through serving them in whatever way we can. Serving them can be either large or small. If there is a family that is moving into your neighborhood offer to help them move in. What about that couple that desperately need a evening out and need a babysitter. If we open our eyes and look around at others then it won’t be that difficult to find ways to serve them.

  • Invite friends to church

Have you tried to invite your friends or co workers to church lately? Pray for them, serve them in whatever capacity you can and then invite them to come to church with you.

  • Invite my friends to have faith in Jesus

Do you feel that you do not know enough about the gospel of Christ to invite people to have the same faith you do? Do you feel as if you should be as knowledgable about the bible as your pastor or Billy Graham before you can share your faith? God only expects for you to be genuine and to share your life story with people. What does the bible mean to you? Why do you read it? Why do you pray for people? Why do you enjoy going to church? How has Christ changed your life since you invited him into your life? What is your story? Before you invited Christ into your life what kind of world view did you have? How did you treat yourself and others? Are you different now? Do you have different dreams, passions, motivations?

We all have a story to tell. It is ok to admit you do not have all the answers with regards to the bible. Theologians have been debating the finer points of bible doctrine for centuries. I do not believe that anyone expects us to have all the answers.

In closing there are 3 types of people who are most open to talking about God.

  • when people are under tension or anxiety
  • when people are in transition
  • when people are in trouble

I believe that we are real people who have been given a real gift and that gift is Jesus Christ and his love for humanity. Despite our sinfulness Christ died on the cross for us so that we can have a relationship with God through eternity. People need to hear about the awesome and life changing love of God. We need to live a life of obedience to the word of God and be genuine about our love for others. We need to put the needs of others before our needs. When we live life in that manner then people will know that we are different and they will be curious about what makes us different. We are living in a world that has real problems that need real answers. If we share a real faith in Christ with those in need we can lead them to the cross where they can find some of those answers.   

Remember to pray for 3 people this week and write down their names. Look for some way to serve them. Invite them to church on Sunday. You might be surprised at their response.

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Grace is the ultimate Christmas gift

The marketing hype has grown to a feverish pitch as retailers are working over time to separate you and I from our hard earned cash.  We are being brain washed into believing that we must have all of the latest gizmo’s and gadgets to put under the Christmas tree.  If we are not careful we will get caught up in the spirit of greediness and not the spirit of Christmas.

Thanks to the economy and circumstances outside of our control there wont be any Christmas gift lists to fill.  As I have been working through all of the feelings about the Christmas season I realized that Christmas is going to be what I make of it.  Christmas does not have to be about how much cool stuff that I can accumulate and the momentary happiness that I will gain from it.

Please do not get me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with receiving Christmas gifts.  I would be lying if I said that I would not want to get a couple of presents myself.  The important thing for me is to remember what is more important.  Is it more important to receive or to give?  What happens if you do not have enough money to shop for what everyone wants?  If you are low on cash and you do not have credit cards so you can say “charge it” then you have to find other ways to give.

Maybe Christmas and the Christmas spirit is not just about giving or receiving.  Maybe Christmas is about the spirit of hope.  If you think about it life is hard and the thing that helps us to get through some of the rough spots is not stuff but hope.  When times get hard what is it that keeps us motivated to keep living each day?   Christmas is not about how much cool stuff we can accumulate but rather the hope that was born in Bethlehem.  Instead of saying Happy Holidays we should say Merry CHRISTmas.  The Christ child is the reason for this season.

Our Hope should be in what Christ came to this world to do.  Christ came into this world to give us hope and to provide us with a better way of living.  A way of living that is different than the status quo.  No, I am not talking about religion that is man made in which we follow all sorts of rules in order to become people that are more acceptable that God can love.  I am talking about God coming in the form of man through Christ the baby in a manger who shows us how much God really loves us.  Our hope is Christ in us and the gift of grace that has been provided for whomsoever will.

This Christmas receive the gift of grace that God has provided for you and your entire family.  God loves each of us individually and pursues us in a personal way.  All we have to do is to open our eyes and seek after him and receive that gift of grace.  The gift of grace is a gift that we can accept for eternity and one that God gives us freely for the asking.  May the peace of God and the joy of the season permeate our hearts and spirits as we enjoy the many blessings we have all around us.

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