Mike Barnes is a regular contributor to our blog, and he also happens to be in the same men's accountability group I am a part of in Sacramento. So today you are being blessed with what I am blessed with on a regular basis as we meet 6AM on Monday mornings (too early to think, but it does our hearts good anyway). I hope, as he is reminding us today, that you have a new sense of the Father's heart for you. -Ray
Grady Jones is a regular contributor to our blog. I always appreciate getting blogs from those who aren't necessarily clergy, but still part of our Alliance family. Having roots in the south, he brings a perspective that many of us aren't aware of when it comes the issues of racism.
Given the recent national brouhaha over systemic racism in America, I thought it might be a good time to explore what makes a racist. Lately, a disconcerting number of Americans have found it easy to toss about accusations of racism against those with whom they disagree. Hating on “racists” has become the debate tactic du jour. Followers of Christ must take a more benevolent approach. Why? Allow me to explain with a personal example.
One of my goals as a church planter and pastor was to get people to follow Jesus. I remember as a young man doing everything possible to get people’s eyes off of me and onto Jesus. To this day, when I pray for people I never ask “How can I pray for you?” I always deflect attention from myself by asking, “What do you need Jesus to do for you?” While this desire to get people to follow Jesus and not me is often good and noble, it is not realistic and may not even be Biblical.
Here is another gem from one of our regulars, Mike Barnes of Gateway Fellowship in Natomas. When I read his thoughts about following, it is sobering to me to realize that what I do (or don't do) affects those around me and those who follow me. I trust it will challenge you in a similarly healthy way. -Ray
My wife and I regularly drive together to church on Sundays but occasionally need to drive separately. Such was the occasion on a recent weekend when, as we walked out of the house, Janet said to me, “I will follow you.” The meaning of her four simple words have become more profound in the days since first spoken.
From time to time I come across articles in different places that either I identify with, or I have pastors who I know can identify with. The fact of the matter is, we are in the people business. And while most of our people are amazing, there are those who quite frankly are not. They drain us, they discourage us, etc. If this happens to you, I just want you to be encouraged that you are not alone, and it probably isn't your fault. Be encouraged to be the shepherd God is calling you to be.
I heard a story about a child who had a difficult time doing what his parents told him to do. He would say, “I can’t.” His mom asked him to go and pray about it to see if God could help him. His prayer went like this. “God I need your help to make me do the things I should and not do the things I shouldn’t, but if You can’t help me right away it’s OK, I’m having fun the way I am right now.”
I wonder if we aren’t all a little bit like that boy. We enjoy the way we are right now.
At the Central Pacific District we like to share inightful and inspiring content from our members, friends, and influencers. Thank you to Bill Giovannetti at maxgrace.com for sharing his wisdom with us so we can pass it on to you.
Every Christ-centered non-profit organization has the need to move forward with a firm planning foundation, in the right sequence. As the Chinese proverb so aptly states this principle:
“If you take one step forward you can see a little further down the road.”
No one can see around every bend from their present location. But taking well-planned steps, one at a time, will enable you to move forward in a healthy direction, deal with unsuspected obstacles, and discover God’s destination for your church or ministry. Moving forward without wise planning will increase vulnerability to loss of time, money, and perhaps vision. Today’s blog summarizes the tenants of healthy sequential steps towards the successful development of a vision.
Woody is an army chaplain in Hawaii as well as part of the leadership of Hillcrest Alliance Church, who lives in Roseville, CA. Shouldn't that be the other way around? Oh well. Needless to say, he flies a lot, which isn't his favorite thing to do - after all, he is Army and not Airforce! I always appreciate the opportunities for ministry God gives him as he goes. - Ray