Archive for October, 2011

First Glance

In light of Goss’ recently passed mission conference weekend, I thought that I would dedicate this blog post today to the missions organization that I work most closely with – First Glance.  For those that may not know, First Glance is a non-profit whose mission statement is : to connect students and their communities to Christ and the Church through loving, non-threatening avenues.  The First Glance building is located on Kenmore boulevard, just 3 blocks away from us at Goss.

Here are 5 things that you may not know about First Glance:

1) They have over 2,000 middle-school and high-school students in their database.

2) They have over 100 volunteers that assist with their programs.

3) As a result of Goss and First Glance’s partnership, an average of 6-10 First Glance students attend Goss’ Youth Group program per week.  Last year, we saw over 60 different students attend Goss from the community.

4) I am on the extended staff team at First Glance, attend recreational nights twice a month, and attend the Open Plate program every Sunday night.  My wife also volunteers twice a month on Tuesdays.  We do this to build relationships with the students and the leaders to connect students to Christ and the Church.

5) There are a bazillion ways to get involved with First Glance.  No matter your age, income, gender, ethnic background, or amount of time you have, I promise there is a way for you to be involved.  Please talk to me if you feel God is tugging at your heart to be involved.

Here is the First Glance website, and First Glance facebook page.

Jesus’ last command to us was to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  There are unreached people in Nepal, and there are unreached youth in our backyard.  Would you pray that God would draw the youth of this city unto Himself?  Would you be willing to get involved with this ministry?

Blessings,

Josh

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Missionary Conference Prayer Requests

The following are prayer requests collected from our missionaries that were here this past weekend for our Missions Conference:

Dale Kinkade (CSB Ministries) – Time management, To grow as an encourager, CSB/Materials – insight needed

P.J. & Lizzy Neiger (Missions to Unreached Peoples) – Family, Language, Decisions-kids, education, Lizzy/degree & future, Open doors, Ministry partners & translation, Health – needed for ministry

Noelle Beck (First Glance) – Heartache/challenge, Vision for prayer, Wisdom for director position-oversight of staff ministry

Jeff Kaiser (Haven of Rest) – Ongoing ministries at the organization, Coming winter/holiday season – many needs

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Tip #5: We can share a faith that isn’t wishy-washy if we know God’s the only one who gives the grace to live it!

As you read through Mark 1, think about the things you’re seeing and hearing.  It’s incredible.  The faith Jesus is calling us to is not for the faint of heart.

A lot of people think Christianity is wishy-washy.  You know, there’s no REAL substance to our message, just an individual achievement of recognizing Jesus and asking for forgiveness.

The things we encounter in the beginning of this Gospel do not permit us to think that way.  We see a lot of activity, we see a lot of challenge.  We see repentance, evil, and words like “kingdom”.  These are things which clearly indicate significant changes in values.

But none of it’s about us.  It’s about God’s Kingdom anyway, it’s not earned.  And repentance is only by God’s grace anyhow.  So why on earth would we go out sharing the truth of Jesus like we have another chance for success except in God’s grace alone?

It’s my hope and prayer as you are sharing (or being stirred to share) that you will ask God for the grace to share and trust Him fully with the results.  Be bold, share hard truths.  Pray lots!

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Tip #4: Will discouragement squash our desire to share?

So how about the appearance of Satan so quickly in this story of Mark?  Does it discourage you?

It shouldn’t.  I think we should do a better job of understanding that interference is a part of the Christian life.  It’s clearly a part of the ministry of Jesus.

Maybe interference is too soft of a word.  How about spiritual warfare? From our enemy, Satan?  There.  It is a war.  Difficulty does persist.  And if you do commit to sharing your faith as a part of your regular life, then warfare should be expected.

Ephesians 6 is a great read on warfare.  Galatians 5 also offers some good thoughts comparing life in the flesh vs. life in the Spirit. It’s when we allow the Holy Spirit to change our desires that evangelism as a priority in our day to day and week to week living will really take root.

Are you discouraged?  Have your efforts to share not seen much visible fruit?  Persist, friend.  God is in control, discouragement is part of obedience.  To God be the glory as lives are changed!

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Tip #6: This passage calls us to give up things to further God’s kingdom. What will you give up?

Priorities matter a bunch in this day and age.  Think this way with me for a moment.  If we asked the average Christian to name the best Christian priorities, some of these answers would surely make the list:

  • Bible Study
  • Prayer
  • Church attendance
  • Commitment to family
  • Fellowship
  • Good morals, public and private
  • Speaking out against political wrongs
To be clear, these are great things.  But do you notice evangelism isn’t on here?  Would it be on your list?  Let’s discuss the concept of giving things up to evangelize.  First, none of these things has to be given up to evangelize.  They just need to be realigned to make sharing the faith a regular part of living.  What must be given up?  Things we enjoy – free time activities, extra TV, perhaps some extra money.  Evangelism can take its place in the regular life of a believer with only a handful of hours in any given week or month. What would you have to rearrange or give up to make evangelism a part of what you do on a regular basis?

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Tip #3: Good luck sharing Jesus when we desire other things more

This tip strikes at the heart God’s glory.  We read early in Mark about John the Baptist’s faithfulness.  We see the glory of God at Jesus’ obedient baptism.  These things should stir our hearts and minds in worship, drawing us to God.  These should only add emphasis to the landmark verse of Mark 1:15.  In this verse Jesus includes the phrase “repent and believe the good news”.

Repentance involves turning away, turning our backs, changing our minds toward sin.  God can empower us to have a totally different view of sin – yes, it can become less attractive to us.  Repentance means putting God first in all things in all ways – changing our minds to think a different way.

This involves conversations we have.  We will be horribly inefficient in sharing the gospel if other things really matter more.  It’s my hope and prayer that if you’re reading this, God’s glory will draw you like a magnet and you’ll respond by beginning to stir up conversations about Jesus with those around you.

In Christ,

Pastor Kevin

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Adoption (Spiritual)

As many of you know, my wife Julie and I have put a lot of time and energy into caring for our foster daughter.  Whether or not we adopt her is not our decision at this point, and the future hangs in the balance.

This has caused me to reflect on what the Bible says about adoption.  Through our belief in Christ, God really does promise that we are adopted as His children.  I find that to be profound.  The Lord of everything, caring enough to adopt me into His family because of the faith I have in His Son.

If you’re a parent, think about the care you put into your children’s upbringing.  Time, energy, sweat, money, time, money, time . . . you get the point.  Sacrifices you’ve made are probably rushing to your mind right this instant.  I know they are for me, and the examples would overwhelm the length of a normal blog entry.

Now compare those sacrifices to what God the Father did.  He allowed His Son Jesus to leave His side in Heaven and come to this earth, to live, love, teach — and ultimately be murdered by His enemies.  The sacrifice is immense, even more because the sacrifice involved the payment for the sin of all who would believe in Him.  What love!

So if you want to lift up a human as your hero for caring for children, don’t.  Lift up God in praise because parenting is a reflection of what He did for us – except He did so much more, allowing His Son to die so we could become a part of His family.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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