Many Christ-followers give their lives to God, but then settle into a lifestyle of going to church and becoming "nice" people. Christ did not die on the cross to create nice people, but disciples who use the gifts He gave them to reach a dying world. How To Discover Your Ministry takes you step-by-step through the process of discovering your gifts and then using them biblically in ways that honor God. Many Christians think it their job to convince church leaders what God has called them to do, and circumvent scriptural principles in the process. No ministry has any value unless it serves local churches. This study guide will enable you to plug in to what God is doing in your city or town. Each chapter is followed by open-ended questions ideal for individual or small group study. The final chapter gives you the reader the next steps toward using what you discover to advance God's Kingdom.
One of the most critical decisions you make soon after giving your life to Christ is to decide how you can best contribute to advancing His Kingdom. Jesus called each of us to be witnesses. In court settings, a witness speaks about what they have personally experienced in an effort to establish the truth. Your personal testimony plays a critical role in proclaiming the Good News about Jesus (Revelation 12:11). No one else on earth can provide a witness about the reality of Jesus like you. Many Christ-followers never develop their faith toward the ministry God destined them to accomplish. That is a great tragedy. God created us for a purpose. He did not call us to merely listen to good preaching until He comes to take us to Heaven.
First in the series, Who Is Your Master? explores the basics of serving Christ effectively in our world. What does it mean to live by the Word? How can you pray to receive answers from God? Why did Jesus command us to hate our relatives in order to serve Him? How can Christ-followers demonstrate Jesus to a dying world? Who Is Your Master? is a study guide with five lessons followed by open-ended questions perfect for individual or small group study. It is designed to help you deepen your relationship with God.
All religions emphasize prayer. Buddhists pray. Muslims pray. Hindus pray. Christians are unique. We expect and receive results from our prayers. Why? Because we are praying to the living God. Disciples pray to get results. We pray in a continual dialogue with God throughout our lives. In John 15:11, Jesus says: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” This word “joy” means cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness, and to be exceedingly joyful. Where do you get it? It is not something you’re born with. It is not a temperament. Joy is lightness, calm, cheerfulness that God gives to us. Again in John 16:23b,24, Jesus says: “I assure you: Anything you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” Stop and catch what Jesus is saying here. Ask and you will what? What happens when your prayer is answered? Cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness, to be exceedingly joyful. In other words, Joy! Most Christians don’t believe in answered prayer. Many have got a list a mile long of why and how things cannot change.
I know a little bit about how good churches go bad from the inside. Joining the church as a teenager, I served first as a deacon and eventually became an associate pastor in a dynamic ministry. Our ministry opened many satellites churches throughout his state, as thousands of young people gave their hearts and lives to Christ. Weekly Bible studies and outreach activities helped many of these young people become responsible adults who impacted their neighborhoods. Many experienced extraordinary life-change. As the ministry grew, we brought nationally-recognized authors and speakers to address civic center auditoriums where they spoke to thousands. Over a few short years, the church experienced unparalleled success. During my fifteen years, I met and married my wife Patti while helping to establish new churches in five cities. In fact, my entire life – friends, family and livelihood – were completely wrapped up in helping the church grow. When A Good Church Goes Bad recounts the story of how this once-great church collapsed under the weight of a series of bad choices. Today, the property that once housed its headquarters and many other ministries, now serves as grazing land for horses.
What happens to churches that start so well but end so badly? Usually, it is not one thing, but a combination of several little things that start to show a pattern of behavior and reaction to the world outside. If you have been wounded through a difficult church experience, you can get spiritually healthy again.
My spiritual destiny was shaped by an event that literally changed my life overnight. The decision I would make affected me positively and negatively for the next 15 years.
Although this is the story of my journey, I have come to believe it is also the story of countless others who have been hurt by the church they loved. I invested fifteen years of my life into a dynamic church that no longer exists. Why it happened is part of my story. The other parts include: How God used these experiences to shape me into the pastor I am today, How to discern whether your church merely has solvable problems or IS the problem. How to address problems in your own church.
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