September 27, 2010

Forgiven or Forgetful?

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:52 pm by Steve


Have I really forgiven someone if a situation causes me to remember it and feel the pain all over again?


Yes. Forgiveness does not mean the same thing as being forgetful. It would be foolish to be hurt by an abusive relationship to which you return again and again. You will obviously retain the some memory of the injury and probably feel the same hurt whenever it is brought to mind. The point is choosing not to bring it to mind over and over again and cause the wound to grow and fester.


Forgiveness is about choosing not to seek retribution or alienating the person for some hurt they may have caused. Forgiveness covers the wound but does not wipe its memory out of our minds. It is an activity whereby we try and seek resolution and healing but don’t jump back into an abusive situation. Forgiveness is about moving on with your life and leaving the bitterness and anger behind.


September 24, 2010

Ten Missional Prayers for the Church

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:57 am by Steve

I found this so important that I wanted others to read it too. ~s


By Dr. James Emery White


1.         That pastors would see other churches in their immediate vicinity as a co-laborer, not as the competition.


2.         That members of churches would see themselves as ministers and missionaries, dying to themselves for the sake of the cause, as opposed to consumers who care most about whether they are fed, ministered to, or served themselves.


3.         That parachurch organizations would be parachurch organizations – meaning serving alongside the church while giving the local church the pre-eminence it deserves – and allowing the partnership to reach its full redemptive potential in light of the biblical mandate.


4.         That church planters would commit to being a) sent by a church; b) called by a community; and c) eager to go where no one has gone. Instead of a) sending themselves; b) going to where they simply desire to live; and c) remaining blind to the reality that they’ll be the 11th McDonalds in a row of ten existing ones.


5.         That all seminaries would remember that they exist to serve the church, and that they would serve the church to such a degree that their students would be more on fire to serve and build the local church after they have graduated than before they entered.


6.         That those committed to discipleship, and rightly so, would quit pitting it against evangelism as if any emphasis on “reaching out” somehow takes away from “building up”, creating a false dichotomy that doesn’t exist biblically.


7.         That older generations would quit worrying about whether they are being catered to sufficiently, and would become more interested in whether they are passing the baton on to the next generation that is so desperate and hungry for mentoring.


8.         That the false dichotomy between a concern for personal or sexual morality, and social justice, would evaporate. Instead, that we would see that being salt and light applies to both concerns: being as concerned for a culture of divorce as much as we are for the AIDS pandemic in Africa.


9.         That the pendulum between whether to share the gospel or engage in social ministry would also disappear. That we would see them not as an either-or, but a both-and; we are to give a cup of water and the bread of life, feeding both stomach and soul.


10.        That we would understand that lost people are not the enemy, but instead the objects of the Father’s heart – and thus, they should be the objects of ours. That we would join the Father as He sets out to find His lost sheep, search for His lost coin, and look desperately down the road for His prodigal son.

September 21, 2010

Learner – Doer

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:41 am by Steve

The Greek word for disciple is ‘mathetes’ which means a Learner – Doer. Not just someone who acquires lot of knowledge! Disciple actually comes from the word discipline. One definition is this:

“A disciple is one who undertakes the discipline of his/her teacher.”

Discipleship is about learning through discipline learning how to follow a teacher or mentor. It’s part education, part mentoring, part apprenticeship, but it goes way beyond tasks or skills. Disciples not only take in what they are taught and what they learn from being with the teacher, they take it into their core identity, so that it defines who they are.

By definition anyone who calls themselves a Christian is a disciple of Jesus, a Jesus wanna-be. We are being changed by intentional habits and by the Holy Spirit to more and more reflect the character of Jesus, by learning, sharing, and doing. But we can’t do this in isolation. “The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.” J. Wesley

One really good way to ensure we continue to grow is to partner with other disciples who are on the same journey for encouragement, inspiration and support in faith and life. Just as an athlete chooses a coach to instruct, challenge, encourage and discipline them into becoming a better athlete a mentor will help us grow, stretch and believe.

But we need to ensure we have the attitude of a disciple. That is being honest about your struggles, mistakes and weaknesses, being open to receive advice and challenge and being willing to do the hard work necessary to become fully fit.

We STRONGLY encourage everyone at First Church to be part of a discipleship team in training. To meet with them regularly, to commit to being honest about our struggles and open with them.