Explosive Church Growth … what next?

Church growth is both spiritual and physical.  There is the numerical growth of the Church. Then there is the spiritual growth of the Church whereby members become more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ displaying both the fruit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Discipleship is the proper monitoring and helping the individual to grow to maturity in ability and accountability in a specific or general area of calling.

Influence through the Church can be on the family.  It could be to influence parents and siblings or husband, wife and children for God. It could just be influence to demonstrate, in a world in need of a model, what is the best husband or wife – as God wants them to be.

Influence in the work place is to be found diligent, trustworthy, faithful and capable thus becoming an asset to the company at the same time ministering to others – counselling and winning souls.  Those we influence in turn influence others so the believers as salt reduce societal decay…and we as light cause the nation to shine brighter and brighter.  Influence can also be in our career as nurses, doctors, pharmacists, engineers, accountants, etc, thereby keeping to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.  These areas also serve to win souls for the king.

Church influence

As we grow spiritually, displaying the beauty of Jesus, we influence others in the Church.  As we display the character of Jesus, others are encouraged.  As we flow in the gifts of the Spirit others benefit thereby.  The members would also be influenced to blossom causing a ripple effect that lead to an explosive revolution. We also impact ethics and character by resisting wrong environmental influences.  Numerical growth should lead to evangelism and missions and a better base to make a positive impact in a dark society.

Factors that influence spiritual growth include the following:

  1. Study of the word of God.  Prayer being communion with God
  2. Exercising of our faith and confidence in God
  3. Communion with God and learning to obey God and be a living sacrifice

Problems and crises can be the beginning of growth for a minister. Recognizing weakness and going to God can be the beginning of growth.  Crises can cause us to listen to God again and thereby grow.  Other people exerting positive influence of comfort, encouragement and empathy in times of crises would be most crucial.

Our response to weakness in others may be a measure of our personal growth.  Our ability to take care of both the strong and the weak brethren could be very crucial. Spiritual growth also comes from self denial, ability to die to self and pursuing the good of the kingdom instead of our selfish, petty and ambitious visions of grandeur…

In recent times so much has been written and observed about lapses in the Church – either as denominations or a small fellowship led by an individual …and many meant well but only have become a weakness to the body rather than a witness…others mock at her conflicts and inconsistencies offering a different balm.  Those that have been stung in conflicts create new movements in prideful action as though bad hearts are cured by new organisation constructs and the rest simply sit in a cynical pose on the fence… even as the more articulate help the enemy tear down that which remains though already weakened and faltering with mixed doctrines, doubts and a well focused and deliberate onslaught by the world, evil and satan’s hosts.

The Prophet Isaiah when saw the Lord said In Isaiah 6[5]  Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. [6]  Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: [7]  And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. [8]  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

It all starts with my own personal repentance … but who in the body will say “Woe is me”  or inspire others to do same?… God did it for the Prophet Isaiah.

You may wonder who this post relates to … and like David be quizzed at the intent and direction of my conclusion …The Prophet Nathan put David out of his agony…

2 Samuel 12 [7] And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; [8]  And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. [9]  Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight?

Matthew 16:18 [18]  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Jesus has always been building His Church and never once did He promise to build ours.

Why was David moved to repentance or Isaiah moved to cry out  – while others would have continued with “business as usual” ?  May I find from God the kind of grace that will single me out for an uncommon repentance experience…

God bless You.

Bode

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In need of a new Beginning

 

My dear Friend …

Perhaps in the many diverse shakings and trials of the stormy recession of 2009, many things seem to have gone awry for you that have caused you to wonder again and again.  “Is all well with me?  Am I really saved?”  As 2010 is ushered in  – you recall acts of indiscretion that hit the headlines or the  recent discovery and open publication of shameful misdeeds.  Yet, do thank God that you still can find the grace to read a post like this as you ask God “…but why am I thus ?  Why did I embrace that desperate and corrupt act that has led to this?  Why have I been found to be so weak? …Why am I thus? ”

Indeed, many brethren and trusted loved ones now watch from a safe distance. You are left alone…finally alone with God.  But even in His presence, all you seem to discern are doubts singing to you “Were you really of God? Did you ever know Him?  Are you His or are you not?”

John Newton (1725 –  1807) was an English Anglican clergyman and former slave-ship captain. He was the author of many great hymns, including “Amazing Grace“.  He also wrote several lesser known hymns especially this one which is rarely sung perhaps because it was penned for the person immersed in deep doubts… a situation well familiar to him.

Below are the verses of the hymn  titled “’Tis a point I long to know”.   I do not recommend this for next Sunday…but rather to hide in your personal  repertoire for a time of great need of divine assurance.

1.’Tis a point I long to know,
Oft it causes anxious thoughts;
Do I love the Lord or no?
Am I His or am I not?

2. If in love, why am I thus?
Why this dull and lifeless frame?
Hardly, sure, can they be worse,
Who have never heard his name!

3. Could my heart so hard remain,
Prayer a task and burden prove;
Every trifle give me pain,
If I knew a Saviour’s love?

4. When I turn my eyes within,
All is dark, and vain and wild;
Filled with unbelief and sin,
Can I deem myself a child?

5.If I pray, or hear or read,
Sin is mixed with all I do;
You that love the Lord indeed,
Tell me, Is it thus with you?

6. Yet I mourn my stubborn will,
Find my sin, a grief, and thrall;
Should I grieve for what I feel
If I did not love at all?

7. Could I joy his saints to meet,
Choose the ways I once abhorred,
Find at times, the promise sweet,
If I did not love the Lord?

8.Lord decide the doubtful case!
Thou who art thy people‘s sun;
Shine upon thy work of grace,
If it be indeed begun.

9.Let me love thee more and more,
If I love at all, I pray
If I have not loved before,
Help me to begin today.

2 Corinthians 12[9]  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Romans 5[20]  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: [21]  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

My friend, as you repent – find the humility to go to the feet of Jesus for grace and mercy and lay it all before Him. Like it was done for the man who fell amongst thieves, Jesus will unconditionally bind up your wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set you back on your feet and will take care of you – having settled the issues by His blood.

I John 1[9]  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [10]  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

Please, do not make the fatal mistake or believe the deception of concealing your sins, pains and many wounds behind another flurry of good charitable activities or attempt to justify yourself with well reasoned responses.  Instead, let the blood of Jesus Christ be enough for you…and there is a lot Jesus – the Balm of Gilead – wants to share personally with you to soothe your hurts.

Proverbs 28[13]  He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Joel 2[23]  Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month . [24]  And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. [25]  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. [26]  And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. [27]  And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.

Another hymn writer John Newton wrote in humble confession …

Weak is the effort of my heart – and cold my warmest thought
And when I see thee as thou art – I’ll praise thee as I ought.

Do stop weeping in your private lonely moments….It is well. You will see the merciful Lord who has been waiting for you. You can begin again wherever you are. I cannot explain how this mess will be turned to a message but I know you will yet praise God and testify of His great grace and mercies.

God bless you my friend.

Yours in Christ.

Bode

 

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