FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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I Can Take You At Your Word

People lie.

I’m sorry, but they do.

Sometimes intentionally.

Sometimes accidentally.

Sometimes with what they believe are good intentions.

Sometimes to be cruel.

Sometimes to be kind.

Sometimes habitually.

Sometimes by omission.

Sometimes out of confusion, because of mental defect or as the result of some imbibed substance.

Get the picture?  People lie.

But you can take God at His word.

How comforting, reassuring, empowering is that!

Not only does He not lie, He does not change His mind.  He speaks, then acts; promises then fulfills (Numbers 23:19 NLT).

Christian artists, Avalon, sings “Everybody’s looking for something to believe in…the faithful are few and far between.  The more I read about You, the less I’ve cause to doubt You.  What You say, You mean!  I can take You at Your word.  My heart can rest assured.”

In this crazy world where little is as it seems, be encouraged that God is true to His word.  He is Who He says He is.  He does what He says He will do.

Avalon’s lyrics also say, “Your word is life. Your word is love. Your word is truth.”

That’s “a word” you can count on!

THIS WEEK delve into the truths of God’s word.  To know His truths and to claim His promises, you must know them!

Take You At Your Word:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_5lyQEk0qA


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Who Have You Told Lately

LIfeWay Research (2012) indicates that “61 percent of evangelical Christians do not share their faith regularly” – even though they believe it is their responsibility to do so. Further, nearly half of those who responded to the LifeWay survey said they have not invited a non-Christian friend to church in the past six months.

Whoa!

That’s frightening, unsettling, distressing, disappointing, concerning, alarming… I’ve got a whole list of adjectives and adverbs that I could wrap around this one!  And when we butt this body of research up against a study by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in collaboration with LifeWay (2009), we find that “67 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church. Another 63% say a personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would be effective.  This same study reports that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) are very or somewhat willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a family member, and 56 percent are very or somewhat willing to receive such information from a friend or neighbor.”  A similar LifeWay study summarized in Discipleship Journal (2008) reported 75% would be wlling to listen to someone talk about his/her Christian beliefs and 78% would enjoy an honest conversations with a friend about spiritual beliefs even if they had other beliefs.

Enough of the numbers; let’s cut to the point best summarized by Ed Stetzer, vice president of LifeWay Research and Ministry Development, “[M]any of your unchurched friends are ready for an invitation to conversation.” THIS is clearly the point for the question raised in Romans 10:14 (NLT), “But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?

Hello Someone!

Yes, you!

Who have YOU told lately?  With whom have YOU shared the good news of God’s Gospel?

Let me share another tidbit from the 2009 LifeWay data.  “Out of 13 approaches tested, personal invitations from family members or friends is the only method that a majority of Americans say would effectively draw them to church.”  Television, radio and newspaper all have an impact as do visits from congregational teams, but the most effective method is one-on-one personal communication with a family member or friend.  Church advertising and outreach methods clearly take a back seat to personal testimony and invitations.  And consider one final extract from LifeWay’s data, “At particular points in life, people are more open to considering matters of faith, the survey (2009) found. The Christmas season is the most common time for people to be open to spiritual matters. Nearly half (47 percent) are more open to considering matters of faith at Christmas. Americans are also open to matters of faith during the Easter season (38 percent).”

Hebrews 3:15 cautions us not to harden our hearts when we hear while James 1:22 admonishes us to be doers of the word.  And we know that Matthew 28:19 commands us to go, teach and make disciples.  I’m thinking perfect storm – THIS is the ideal time for you to hear this word just weeks before Easter, the season when many hearts are open and eager to hear God’s truth.  THIS is the ideal time for you to share!

THIS WEEK pray asking the Holy Spirit to lead you to the right opportunity and the right methodology to share your faith.  Unsure how to get started?  Explore the following resources.  Share your experiences as well as your encouragement for others using our blog’s comment feature!

RESOURCES

Share Your Faith Apphttp://shareyourfaithapp.com/

How to Share Your Faith (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association):  http://billygraham.org/grow-your-faith/how-to-share-your-faith/tools/

EvangeCUBE:  http://www.e3resources.org/downloads.php

Roman Road (Teen Mission International):  http://www.teenmissions.org/resources/roman-road-to-salvation/

FAITH Outlinehttp://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lifeway.com%2Fev%2Ffiles%2FevF_min_FAITH_VisitOutline.pdf&ei=4_AFVdywOoifNsXvg4gJ&usg=AFQjCNEgBlAI91LGBT5nxvukphTU6VdBdg&sig2=_vrcHO9_89NTcfsxCAfQtg


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Defining God

My head hurts.

I think it has something to do with my homework that is due Tuesday. Here’s the assignment.

“Develop a personal Definition of God and the Person of Jesus Christ (deity and humanity).  Your formal Definition brings together the various elements of Trinitarian theism into coherent concepts of God and Christ. Specifically, the Doctrinal Statement should define the names and attributes of God, and especially the Trinity—the Father, Son (including the incarnation and two natures), Holy Spirit, and the Trinitarian relations. The one-page statement is to be your definition or credo (I believe…), not an exposition, argument, or apologetic.” (There’s more.  I’m sharing a shortened version so your head won’t hurt, too.)

Aside from the fact that I struggle with the Turabian Style Guide (I was raised on APA) and the fact that I just had two huge quizzes and face another this week as well as having to write another paper for another class, this is a LOT to think about. A personal Definition of God.

Hmmm…

God implores us to “be still, and know” that he is God (Psalm 46:10).  I’ve spent a lot of time this weekend being still. I’ve read Scripture. I’ve listened to archived sermons from my pastor. I’ve read countless articles. I’ve sat just pondering all that I read and heard.

And while I must complete this assignment, or accept that a zero will be calculated as 20% of my final grade, I’ve come to the conclusion that God is not so much to be defined on paper by penning lists of His qualities and attributes – omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent… or even by listing His names – Elohim, El Shaddai, El Olam, El Elyon…

“Be still, and know.”

Know is the word that strikes me. There are different ways of knowing.  When I was a school principal, I always told teachers that they need to know their students as students but also as people. There is intellectual or factual knowing or, as the German say, “wissen” and the Latin and Italian “sapere.” This is knowing that is general, abstract and rather easily put into words like a student’s reading test score or knowing the answer to a math problem. But there is also individual, particular and often hard to articulate knowing that comes through relationships and experience. The German call this “kennen” and the Latin distinguish it as “cognoscere.”

I believe God desires us to have “head knowledge” – “wissen” and “sapere” about Him. He would have us study the Scriptures, know His names and know the works that He has done. But when His word tells us to “be still, and know,” I believe He means for us to know Him in true relationship and personal experience – “kennen” and “cognoscere.” And when you really stop and think about it, isn’t that awesome? That He desires us to know Him this way, at this level?

The King of Kings’ the Lord of Lords; the one true, living God wants to know you and wants you to know Him. Just think about trying to walk up to Queen Elizabeth, Xi Jinping (President of China), Vladimir Putin (President of Russia) or Barack Obama (President of the United States), introduce yourself and get to know them at a personal level? Probably ain’t going to happen. You’d have to try to navigate all kinds of red tape, background checks and Secret Service. And the key word is “try” because you’d probably never get through it all.

But God who is greater than these, wants you to know Him, to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him, to spend time with Him. Acts 17:27 (NASB) says God desires that we might “grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” He wants us to be in relationship with Him such that He has not hidden Himself away behind walls, bars, armed guards, bureaucracy or Secret Service.

God desires to build a unique intimate and personal relationship with each of His followers so that He may reveal more of Himself to each – truth by truth – as that knowledge is needed.

Who is God?

Be still, and get to know Him for yourself. Some possible resources for you follow. I’ve got to get back to that paper! (But I’d love to hear who YOU think He is.  Share your comments!)

RESOURCES

How to Know God

http://www.insight.org/resources/topics/how-to-know-god/

How to Know God Personally

http://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html

How Can I Get to Know God Better?

http://www.intouch.org/you/all-things-are-new/content/topic/how_can_i_get_to_know_god_better_all_things

How Can I Deepen My Relationship with God?

http://www.intouch.org/you/all-things-are-new/content/topic/how_can_i_deepen_my_relationship_with_god_all_things