1. "Everyday I have to get of the throne of my life." Man what a great statement. I know I struggle with this too - especially in ministry. I have to remind myself that ministry improves because God allows it too. It's nothing that I have done but everything He has done through me.
2. "I can't, He can." ENOUGH SAID right there. Beautiful!
3. We all require enormous amounts of grace! We are all made in the image of God and He sees us with the same lavishing love of all others. You have made the decision to accept that and that is what makes all the difference. Having the HS and Jesus intercede for us is AWESOME. I know I am thankful for that as well!!
4. One of the biggest hiccups when it comes to witnessing is "I just don't know what to say when someone asks me about Christ." You hit the nail on the head because the answer to that is YOUR TESTIMONY! Do we need all the scripture memorized? It helps, but no we don't - the biggest thing is telling others how my story became OUR story!
5. I loved the moments in 14 years of education when kids would ask me a question and my response was "Man! I don't know the answer to that! Let's check it out, walk together to find the answer!" Hear me on this - I am learning so much from you guys and your posts that I love it!! Growing closer to God is learning everyday - when we don't and we don't walk with others in our learning we become stale. Great point on spiritual maturity.
6. "We have to pursue Him and His will and just get out of His way." BINGO.
7. "Grounded in the Word of God" - Awesome. If I don't get in the Word things go awry for sure!
8. Yep yep - How do we improve though? I know we are constantly trying to improve but it's something I think about everyday - How can ministry be better?
9. I get so frustrated with myself in hindsight when I am quick to anger and slow to forgive and then I think of what Jesus has done for me. Gosh I suck sometimes...
10. EVERYONE IS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD - Great job my man.
11. It was GREAT to see you Wednesday - *ATTENTION TO THE WHOLE CLASS - If you want to know where to get one of the greatest hugs in the world meet up with the guys from Pittsfield! Never in my life have I received any better hug than from Clint Weir or Jamie Reel. You will not receive some sketchy "bro hug" but you will receive a hug that emanates love, grace, warmth, and respect!*
Thanks for that Jim. Great getting to visit with you as well. His Glory!
Yes, Jamie, in #1 an in-depth look at key elements of us as servants and HIM as Shepherd. That inward focus decreasing and denying ourselves sure led to an exciting adventure following HIM. It truly is daily and even moment by moment if you are like me.
In #4 especially John 15 stands out. That "hurtful past" you speak of is so key here as in partnership with HIM it becomes an encouragement to follow Jesus as opposed to trying to build ourselves up. Pain, ownership and blending with Christ's story is a blessing when done to HIS glory. Otherwise it is nothing!!!!
In #9, you have hit on a fantastic point: being forgiven helps us to forgive. It really shows us the "good way" following Jesus who is the author of how to live Christlikeness. "It is free and costs nothing." True, and a show of how we should be in order to have the blessed life. We really must be selfish and inward focused if we cannot do this.
Very well Done!!!
1. We have to remember who God is and what he has done for us. I do this through remembering specific things that God has done for me and sharing these stories with others. Bible studies are a great way to learn God’s word in a group setting. This helps me remember what God has done in other people’s lives. We have to spend time in His word daily. Jesus tell us to do this in Matthew 16:24-26 (AMP) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].I cannot focus on myself realizing that every day is a new day to focus on God and not let outside things interfere with this plan. Every day has challenges of its own and I cannot worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).
2. The cross is where Gods plan to redeem us from our sins was carried out. He made a way for us to have a personal intimate relationship with Him. The only way I can have a personal relationship with God is to accept that Jesus died on the cross for my sin and was raised from the dead on the third day (Matthew 27:45 – Matthew 28:8). I cannot earn the gift of salvation. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8). I can never earn this gift of God. By trying to earn my salvation I am telling God that his plan was not good enough for me. John tells us that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6) and that is because of His sacrifice on the cross. The cross is what God used to build a bridge from Him to us.
3. The area in which I require the most grace would be forgiving others. I need and have used a tremendous amount of grace in this area. I know that Jesus tells me that when I forgive others, God will forgive me Matthew 6: 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. This is so hard for me I want to hold on to and control of this area in my life. I know I have to forgive these people and God is helping me in this area. I just have to stay focused on God and take the control away from Satan. I know Satan is working in this area because I feel guilty and condemned. Paul tells me that condemnation is not from God. Romans 8:1 say “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” This is an area of my life that I wake up daily and ask God to forgive me in, but I sometimes think I focus too much on the problem and loose focus of the solution.
4. When I first accepted Jesus as my savior it was new and emotional it was “my story”, but my emotions faded and I started to doubt what had happened. It was not until I started to search God’s word both personally and through group studies that God started to become a reality to me. Then I started attending The Crossing in Pittsfield and serving in The Crossing Inside and the realization of God plan was revealed to me. God continues to grow me spiritual through both personal studies and taking MDI classes. It was when my spiritual formation started to grow that” my story” became “our story”
5. A teacher that is open and honest has the respect of their students. The students must see the Holy Spirit in the teacher. It is the teacher’s responsibility to show the students where they stand spiritually. A teacher can only teach is what they truly understand and have learned through experience from the Holy Spirit. A teacher that is being led by the Holy Spirit shows that they are following God’s will and that they are trustworthy.
6. Anointed teaching is the indwelling and empowering of the Holy Spirit. It starts with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and the empowerment that the Holy Spirit gives us. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is receiving God’s grace and letting other see his grace through us. Our major focus is to be submissive to doing his will. We have to stay contacted to God “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5). The Holy Spirit that enabled Peter to address the crowd on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41) is the same Holy Spirit that is dwelling in us today if we have accepted Jesus as Lord and savior of our lives.
7. Holiness does not come from simply avoiding certain actions, but by our becoming a channel for God’s empowering presence-living as a pipe not as a bucket (Page 161). Being a child of God means more than giving up sinful life styles, it means turning towards God for our strength. We are to share what God has given us with others, helping other grow spiritually. We should help each other with a loving heart just as Jesus did. Love our neighbor just as our self (Mark 12:31). We have to grow spiritually by studying God’s word and then sharing the knowledge with others, living a life of integrity. I know that apart from Him I would be nothing and that it is only the grace of God that I am who I am today. Knowing this encourages me to share my story with others. It is all about God and giving Him all the glory. I believe that the keys of being in a relationship with Christ are showing love, living a life of integrity, studying the bible, helping others, and praying these things show that we are obedient to God.
8. I feel The Crossing does an excellent job at making the worship service a personal time, the worship leaders bring the service to life with the emotions they put into music. The songs go along with the sermon and get your heart in tune with God’s word. Minimal distraction keeps our minds focused on God’s word. Communion time is a very personal time to remember what Jesus did on the cross for us. The invitation is a time to come to the steps and accept Christ as your Lord and Savior or to just repent of thing you need to let go of.
The Crossing offers many compassionate services. The food pantry is a ministry that helps people with both physical and spiritual needs. Small groups help create a community and grow disciples. We have thrift stories to supply clothes and household items, kids ministry that teaches kids from new born to high school, CR helps with peoples destructive habits, and The Crossing Inside is where we take the word of God to prisons, jail and rehabs centers. I believe The Crossing does a great job meeting people’s needs both physically and spiritually.
Our life is a public witness, people see everything we do. The Crossing follows the commandment love one another and other people see this and search it out. The love we share comes from God, and we share that love with others we come in contact with. We witness through the message, praying with others, sharing life and living by example. God is the reason we live our lives like we do. How we live our lives can influence others to live a Christian life.
It is hard to make disciples. A person must chose to follow God to this point in their spiritual walk. The Crossing gives each person many ways to grow to this point. Small groups and D-groups are a great way to grow to spiritual maturity. Bible studies groups are an awesome way to grow in God’s word. MDI is a great way to learn more about God’s word at an individual level. Each person faces different challenges on their path of growing into a disciple.
9. Forgiveness is something I struggle with. I think sometime I do forgive people more than I think I do, but I have trouble forgetting, and letting it be in the past. I think about the story of the Prodigal son. The father had already forgiven the son before he came home. Everything was forgiven. The father welcomed the son with open arms and accepted him as he was, his child who had made a mistake. I know God totally forgives us and no matter how far we fall. We need to just turn towards God and His arms will be open and welcome us back, Jesus paid the price for all of my sins past, present and future, just as He paid the same price for everyone’s sins . If you do not forgive people, it is like a cancer. It will eat at you until it destroys you from the inside out. Forgiveness is not for the other people but it is for me. I have learned that forgiving people opens up my life to grow spiritually. Matthew 6:14 is a big verse for me “14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Forgiving others is putting your selfish thoughts aside and turning on the love God showed us.
10. My focus has to be on the Holy Spirit who dwells in me and empowers me. I have to accept God’s grace and forgiveness daily, I have to look continuously to the cross. When I give an area of my life over to Christ, my life gets better and He can work in me and through me. My goal is to lead as many people to Christ as possible and to show them God’s unconditional love. Jesus invitation is for everyone to join Him in His father’s house just as they are with all the baggage and their imperfections.