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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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It is said that time heals all wounds. It is also said that absence makes a heart grow fonder. In the last couple of days I have been thinking of an old friend.

As much as I have tried ,it has been difficult to put them out of my mind. This friend came into my life and left footprints in my heart. We have so many things in common. Unfortunately we had our differences that ultimately derailed our friendship. Thanks to social media and technology, I am being reminded of this friendship and what it means to me. I am being reminded of the fact that the friendship is more important to me than our differences. At one point I allowed those differences to turn into a storm that caused a lot of conflict. That conflict damaged our friendship to the point that my friend no longer wanted to talk to me. I was angry, they were angry, we were both hurt. Nevertheless the foot prints are still there. As for me, that relationship is not something that I want to destroy for all eternity. That person and their friendship is more precious to me to allow it to completely disappear.

I am hoping that time has healed old wounds, and that we both can reconcile our differences, and our paths can come together again. I want to do my part to make amends and I am hopeful that they are too. I believe that people are more important than any ideology or belief. I also believe that we should not have to destroy friendships over ideology or beliefs. I am hopeful that our differences and diversity in who we are, will add and strengthen friendships, and not tear them apart.

Perhaps I am guilty as charged in this case. I allowed my belief system and principles to become more important than my friendship. I was not willing to compromise. I was hell bent on expressing my view points and telling the other person how I felt, no matter how it hurt them. Looking back, that was awfully short sighted and stupid of me.

I am hoping that my friend will forgive me. I hope that they still read my blog and that they will accept my apology. I hope that they will give me another chance. I hope that they miss me as much as I miss them. Only time will tell.   


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I quit!!

We have all come to that place where we have to decide to continue fighting or give up.  How many times have we said “I Quit!”.  We are 3/4 of the way through January 2012, but the new year is not too far gone, to make new beginnings.  The year 2011 is gone for good and in the history books. 

As we look back at 2011, and examine our failures, we will find ourselves at a cross roads.  Maybe we failed at a task, or did not realize a dream or vision, because we failed to quit doing something that hindered us in meeting our goals.  Most of the time we view dreams or goals, as a set of tasks, that we must achieve in order to have success.  As we examine those tasks, and the time line that we set up for each of them, maybe we need to ask ourselves a simple question.   What did I do that might have ambushed my success?  

In 2012 the beginning series of messages at Coastal Community Church is the “I Quit” series.  At first it sounds sort of defeatist.  The hand holding up the white flag proclaiming defeat.  As I have sat through the last couple of Sunday sermons, I am being reminded of how powerful change can be.  The first message proclaimed “I quit making excuses!”  If you have read the last couple of blog posts you will remember my proclamation about weight loss.  No more excuses!!  I quit making excuses about not losing weight.  What dream or vision do you have that you are making excuses for?

I once heard a pastor say something that is so true.  If what I tell you on Sunday, can not be put to use in practical ways on Monday, then I am not doing my job.  Once the message is delivered, and we receive it,we have a decision to make.  What am I going to do with the message?  Do I continue to rationalize failure or do I stop making excuses?  Do I decide to step out in faith, and do what I can do, and then let God do what he will do in order for us to be successful. 

The second message is “I quit complaining”.  Do we like to complain about this or that?  Instead of complaining, should we take ownership of what the problem is, and find a solution?  Would that be better than whining?  Let me put this in real terms that you can relate to.  I live in a family of four people.  Two adults and two teenagers who are learning how to become adults.  We delegate to them tasks that they are expected to accomplish.  We want them to understand the value of work and the responsibilities of living in a family that is self sufficient.  In other words, the laundry does not get done by the laundry fairy and the dishes do not get cleaned by the dishes fairy.  No, it is not appropriate to put the dirty dishes on the floor and let the dogs lick them clean. 

On more than one occasion delegated tasks are either half way done and not finished, or just not done at all.  It seems as if the little things in life, the small annoyances tend to set me off the worst.  When I see the clean laundry piled up on the chair in the sun room and not put away it causes me to complain and whine about it.  I do not understand the logic of washing the clothes, drying them and then throwing them into a pile on a chair so they will wrinkle.  I must learn to stop complaining about the little things, and just take matters into my own hands.  When I see the task that is not finished, I need to either finish the task myself, or lovingly redirect my teenagers attention away from TV or the Internet. and get them to complete the task correctly.  At that point I can deal with their complaining and whining about having to do it. 

Making excuses and complaining about something is not going to solve the problem or help us to achieve our goals.  Taking ownership of our problems and having a positive prayerful mindset will take us so much further.  This is my problem, I acknowledge it and I want to figure out a way to fix it.  Sometimes fixing a problem requires going to someone and apologizing for being a jerk or not holding up our end of an agreement.  Sometimes fixing a problem requires making amends in a relationship.  Sometimes fixing a problem requires us to change our mind and heart attitude about a situation or person.   

In 2012 I want to learn how to stop making excuses and to stop complaining.   

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