Encouragement Through Discipline (New Year’s Resolutions)

Hebrews 12:4-13 

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Children need guidance (12:7-9)

The point of parenting is to teach our children how to make the best choices. Children need rules. They need limitations. They need boundaries. We love our children by not allowing them to hurt themselves. Verse 8 says that we are not legitimate if we have not undergone discipline. Verse 9 says that we learn to respect from discipline.

We need guidance (12:10-11)

We receive discipline and guidance because it is leading us to what is good.  We will receive a share in his holiness. Discipline is never meant to be easy or pleasant. The short term is not the goal. We are in this for the long haul. Verse 11 tells us that we can know righteousness and peace because we have been trained for it.

We become good examples for others (12:12-13)

We are being trained for a purpose. We should “strengthen” our arms and knees to support others. When you lift something up, you use your arms and knees. As we are lifted up, we should lift up others! We undergo training and discipline to strengthen us to be strong for others!

Graphic from the Ministry Toolkit and Lindsey Fleeman 

Top 5 ways to attract more followers on social networking

Social Networking 101: Top 5 ways to attract more followers on social networking outlets – KansasCity.com.

The above article was come across the other day and I immediately saw some advantages for ministries, churches, group, and the like.  I am reviewing it here with a spin towards those groups.

  1. Make sure your social ministry contacts are where people can see them.  All of your landing pages should point to other places where more can be found out about you.  Don’t just share your personal places, but share the places where your group gathers, Facebook, websites, Flickr, etc.
  2. Whether it is Lotus Notes, emails, newsletters, even publications, share your social ministry locations.  Also, quick reminder: you friend people on Facebook and follow people on Twitter.
  3. Mix and match your social ministry outlets.  Tell people to follow you on Twitter and remind your fellow tweeters about your Facebook pages.
  4. Just because it is in print, it does not mean you cannot share social ministry locations.  Showing web addresses and using QR codes is a good way to link the physical with the virtual.
  5. Make your content valuable and followable and shareable.  Whether it is devotional thoughts, program ideas, pastoral tips, visitation experiences, write about what is true, but what is interesting to others.  A blogger who blogs without anyone reading it is writing an electronic diary!

I hope these tips can help you develop the online presence of your group.

SermonGeneral Out!!

Presence Evangelism in Networking

If you have been involved with social networking for any length of time, you have probably come across one of these services.  The four services represent a myriad of GPS-enabled apps that can let people know where you are.

The most well-known is Facebook Places.  On the rise in many metro areas is Foursquare.  Lacking some of the social connection aspects, Google Places has been a market fixture for a while in many different forms.  My new favorite is Soundtracking.  Not only can you “post/tweet” where you are, but you can tell everyone what music you are listening to.

As you can tell, I am currently rocking a little Marty Mikles and transMission’s new album, “Majestic” (https://www.facebook.com/satransmission).

All of these apps give a user the opportunity to show where they are and what they may be doing within the confines and purposes of the app.  Foursquare even turns this process into a game.  Whomever is checked into a “place” becomes the Mayor.  Some retailers have started giving special discounts to the current “Mayors.”  I am still the Mayor of the Albany Salvation Army which does not get me any discounts,  Geesh!

All of these GPS-enabled apps can help ministers and leaders by simply showing where that person is.  It is a concept that is becoming known as “Presence Evangelism.”

Presence evangelism is not so much verbal persuasion, but action persuasion through deeds, good works, sincere love and friendship.  To put it another way, it is the Church being Christ’s arms reaching out into the community. Christ’s love is shared through the examples of serving, caring and helping the community’s needs.

Presence evangelism goes beyond saying you are going to do something or go somewhere to actually doing something and going somewhere.  By utilizing effectively some of these apps, a minister/leader/guide can show people where they are and how they are making an impact in the community.  It shows where they are ministering at and with whom.  One of the things that Jesus did very well was being with His disciples.  He ate with them, laughed with them, partied with them, and traveled with them.

Would it hurt you to show people where you are today and how you are making a difference in your community and in the kingdom?

SAFETY NOTE: As with any programs, there are situations that are not always true all of the time.  I would discourage you from revealing too much about the location and activities in certain areas, ie. counseling people, your own home, who you are visiting in the hospital, etc.  Using your best judgment is often the best step you can take!

SermonGeneral Out!