7 Reasons Your Church Needs to Go on a Diet

Most churches—more than eight out of 10—are busy. Too busy.
These churches need to slim down their plethora of programs, activities and ministries.
They need to go a busyness diet.
Unfortunately, many church leaders equate activities with godliness or ministry fruitfulness.
For certain, churches must have some clear plan of discipleship for their members. Sadly, some of the busiest churches actually diminish discipleship fruitfulness.

And ceasing certain activities in the church can be extremely hard. You can run into sacred cows and favored ministries.
Still, most churches should pursue a busyness diet for at least seven reasons.

1. Excessive activities can actually preclude members from growing spiritually.

I actually interviewed one church member who said he didn’t have time to read his Bible. He was worn out almost every day from church activities.

2. A church that is too busy rarely evaluates the effectiveness of its activities.

Leaders often erroneously presume that the busyness is a sign of fruitfulness.

3. Activity-focused churches are often inwardly focused.

Those ministries are typically for the members and are rarely evangelistic or community focused.

4. A busy church can hurt families.

Many churches have different activities for children, students and adults on multiple days of the week. Family members rarely have time together.

5. Activity-focused churches can cause member burnout.

When a member burns out, he or she then drops out.

6. It is difficult for a church to do a few things well when it does too many things.

Quantity thus replaces quality, and the most vital ministries suffer.

7. Busy churches often lack vision clarity.

Because these churches are going in so many directions, members are confused about the priorities and vision of the church.
Try this exercise. List every ministry, program or class that your church offers in a year. If the list is exceedingly long, see if just a few can be eliminated without much pain.
Then, before you add anything else to the activities of your church, make a commitment to eliminate two existing activities.
Admittedly, busyness diets are not always easy or pleasant.
But they can make the difference between a busy church and a fruitful church.

 

Source: Thom Rainer

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Praying in the Spirit

Any prayer that is directed, energized, and sustained by the Holy Spirit is a prayer that is prayed in the Spirit.

Praying in the spirit :-

1. Will be according to God’s will – 1 John 5: 14-15
2. Will glorify the Father through the Son – John 14:13
3. Is based upon God’s character, ways, and Word – John 15:7
4. Comes from a clean heart – James 5:16
5. Is prayed in full assurance of faith – John 1:6
6. Is asked in the name of Jesus – John 14:14

Such prayer will always find God’s answers.

 

Source: Unknown

Daily Struggles for a child of God

First as a child of God we  should never use the devil to excuse for  self or a another person  to fall into a scandal, immorality, and criminal behaviour ,emotional blackmailing  which every often happens within the four wall of a house and also as though  sometimes happened in the Church. The faithful Christian should and  always accepts personal responsibility, and understands that the devil can never force us to do anything against our will(for it was Gods breath which made us living souls). Must definitely the tempter   tempts, he misleads, he brings us to the point of danger, but in the final analysis, it is our choice whether to succumb to our daily enticement  or not.

The second principle is never to allow our fight against Satan to end dialogue with our opponents..” What it mean’s is by warning we should  never have a dialogue with the devil and  never to sacrifice ultimate truth when meeting with our opponents—not that we shouldn’t search for common a ground( which is very often done within the family and cooperate world under the camouflage of maintain the so called the “peace of the house” for  “the growth of the cooperate house” ), or even  trying to win hearts for Christ.

The third principle is to be on constant guard against the devil, never assume we cannot sin like those we are trying desperately to correct( When it is God business and ours is to guide), and ask ourselves some pointed questions:

Do I guard myself, my heart, my feelings, my thoughts? Do I guard the treasure of grace? Do I guard the presence of the Holy Spirit in me? Or do I let go, feeling secure, believing that all is going well? But if you do not guard yourself, for he who is stronger than you will come.

 

Source: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/10/the-smoke-of-satan-returns

10 People Who Won’t Be in Heaven After They Die

We never want to think about it, but it’s true. There are some people who won’t be in heaven after they die. And even Jesus Himself emphasizes that we don’t have enough information to determine who these are from our point of view in His Parable of the Tares and the Wheat. (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43) Only He can know for sure. But there is another side to the coin.

The Apostle Paul is clear about certain habitual sin patterns that mark individual’s lives that are a sure sign of degeneracy. Remember, Christianity is not so much about perfection, it’s about direction. (1 John 3:6-10) Are you in the habit of turning towards righteousness by Christ’s help and out of a changed heart? (2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 30:11) Or are you in the habit of turning towards wickedness apart from Christ and out of a heart that refuses to ask for forgiveness and surrender to Him? (Romans 6:13; 10:9-10)

The latter are among the 10 people who won’t be in heaven after they die as per the Scripture. Of that there is no question…

(1 Corinthians 6:9-10): (Each term is defined as per dictionary for a better understanding)

Fornicators. Having sex outside of marriage.
Idolaters. Offering devotion to something or someone above Christ.
Adulterers. Cheating on your husband or wife.
Effeminate (by perversion). A woman being a man; a man being a woman.
Homosexuals. Having sex with the same sex.
Thieves. Stealing someone else’s goods.
The Covetous. Obsessively desiring someone’s stuff.
Drunkards. Excessively drinking alcohol.
Revilers. Speaking abusively.
Swindlers. Capturing money, goods or property through deception.

“And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Want your sins forgiven and a new start? How to receive Christ into your heart and life ?

Source: http://aheartforgod.blogspot.in/2009/09/10-people-who-wont-be-in-heaven-after.html

 

JESUS HAS OVERCOME

John 16:33 – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Many people believe that if you are a Christian, you should be without any sorrow.  And if something bad happens to you or your family, people would be gossiping that there is some curse in your family or that God is punishing you. God never punishes, He only disciplines our lives.  Both bad and good things happen in our life for a reason. God is good all the time.
But He has always said that there will be trouble in this world. He also assures us that He has overcome. Then why are we still in a sunken feeling whenever something bad happens to us.
In our troubles we fail to remember John 17:33, which clearly tells us it is overcome.

It means that we need not concentrate on the problem. From personal experience and from seeing others too, whenever we are faced with problems, we start praying or worshiping God but we end up crying.  Of course, it’s much better to cry to God than to cry to humans.

But that should not be how we approach our problem. I understood recently on how to pray correctly.  How we need to be conscious of His presence, enter into His awesome presence and start concentrating on God rather than on the problem.
Hebrews 13:6 – Praise God.

When faced with problems, we need to remember our Lord Jesus Christ who lived as a human and faced issues that we are all facing now.

Jesus was born in a manger and not in a comfortable room like us. Yes he faced poverty.
Jesus faced non acceptance from his own people/hometown. Yes he faced seclusion.
Jesus wept as he heard the news of his loved one.  John 11:35. Yes he faced mourning.
Jesus was not rich to travel in different kinds of transport.  Yes he was poor.
Finally Jesus faced the worst of human tragedies.  He was scorned, beaten , paraded like a sinner and crucified for no sin of His. Yes he faced immense pain in death.

Yet in none of this, Jesus grumbles or questions god.  He was just a human like you and me.
Believing that the troubles we face today are just temporary and that it has already been overcome , leads us to a wonderful and a different relationship with our Lord Jesus.

Amen.

Author: Hepsibah Rachel (NLFA Baroda)

God’s Choices – The nobodies of this world

1 Corinthians 1:27 – 29
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (ESV)

As I read this verse, I am both happy and privileged that God chose me. Out of billions of people, we are more than blessed to be called for Him. I may be foolish or weak or not mean anything to this world but since the great creator chose me, I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The world might think that we are wasting our time with the gospel. Some might even call us fanatics.

1 Corinthians 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (ESV)

But they do not know and acknowledge what they are missing out – the great truth of eternal life set before everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (ESV)

Many times being a christian means missing out on all the so called fun of the world. This is a bitter truth for many people. When we grow too much in the wisdom and things of the world, the Lord and His work starts losing their place and time in your life. The wise of the world think they know things enough to even question the very existence of God . For this reason,even Christians who know the truth have become/ turned into atheists .

1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” (ESV)

On the other hand, when we are aligned to the truth with the mindset – less of me and more of Christ, then the glory of God is manifested and His divine purpose of choosing the weak and lowly things of the world will be fulfilled.

Amen.

Author:

Hepsibah Rachel (NLFA Baroda)

Time Devotion

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” -Mark 12:30 (NIV)

“Teach us to number our days right, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) (NIV)

When our end comes, all our actions will be counted, our decisions revised, right in front of us.

Have I faithfully served God with the time He has given me?

Psalms 90 tells us that our life is short. We must prioritize our life. God should always be first, then the family of course.

 

Time is not ours, it never was. It always was God’s and was given by God. It’s a gift given to us. Are we making use of the gift?

The most common excuse, we don’t have time. We got called in for overtime, or got assignments, so no time.

We should be ashamed, in a way, cause the time that we get to finish those works, are allotted by Christ. He knows that we can finish it in time, even after spending time with Him.

The reason we tend to fail in this, is because we choose not to spend time with Him.

 

The bible tells us in “2 Corinthians 9:6 – But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” (NIV)

Are we sowing the time bountifully?

 

Also, “Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (NIV)

We don’t have time? Well of course, if only we had planted time, we’d have got proper time for everything!

Everything would have finished in time, if only we gave our time in His hands!

 

We know our timings, our plans, but our timings and our plans are not what’s final. We often say “I missed the morning prayer, I’ll pray in the evening.” “I missed today’s meeting, I’ll go next week.” This is our time.

Do we know what God’s time is? God might have given me a deadline, and I don’t know that, none of us knows that. God must be planning of sending me somewhere else next month, and I keep on delaying the plans for the church, my time is done.

Even worse, if God plans that I don’t have to see this evening and if I went to my office, instead of church, I missed my last church service. My last chance of helping people come together in worship(the writer is a worship leader in the church), last chance of worshiping Him in oneness with all the beautiful people of the church.

 

Are you really sure, that you want take the risk of skipping meeting Him in His time just because your time doesn’t fit with Him?

Author: Georgy Roy (NLFA Baroda)