Volunteering

“Thriving churches have a culture that honours and celebrates their volunteers. Their volunteer teams are characterised by camaraderie, fun and mutual respect. However, experience shows that this does not just happen. The key leaders must build it into the culture of the church.”   Steven Matthew.

Churches across the world are full of loving volunteers that give willingly their time, skills, experience, money, emotions, energy, love and loyalty to their congregations and the building up Gods people and churches in their areas. They are priceless and a necessary group. This army of people are in many cases what keeps the church going and without their support and energy working tirelessly in the background most Pastors and leaders would not have a church to go to. They are indispensable. And they are amazingly awesome!!

How does our church honour these wonderful people? How are they encouraged to keep going when they are tired and feeling unloved? How do we thank those who are the backbone of all we see happen on a Sunday and throughout the week? We need to be as committed to this group as much as we are committed to any other mission we have. These amazing people make the impossible possible by their giving to God all they have. We are on the receiving end of their support, but know they do it for the Lord of Lords.

We need to celebrate involvement and those who give all and give a little.

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Better Communication

Good communication is needed in every relationship, but I feel more so now that a lot of our words are typed through text messages or emails. We have lost most face to face communication, and since there is a high percentage of how we speak is done by body language or facial and vocal expressions, there is much more of a chance to get the wrong message from the one that was meant.

Our relationships thrive on good communication, and I feel it is the nutrient needed for a healthy relationship, whoever that is with. It could be your Pastor, spouse, friends, shop staff, employees, postman, the list is endless.

Norman Wright explains that when people communicate there are at least 6 messages that come through.

What you mean to say

What you actually say

What the other person hears

What the other person thinks they hear

What the other person says about what you said

What you think the other person said about what you said

This shows how important it is to think and work on how we communicate with everyone we have contact with. By spending more time working on what and how we say to others, we can make sure more of what we say is clear and helps us to smooth out any weaknesses we may have in this area.

If we want a relationship to go deeper, then we need to grasp how to communicate with that person, not just in what we say but in how our body and  vocal languages come across. We all have some hang ups in this area. We may have a fear of opening up to others for fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, low self esteem or image. All these factor in when we open up to anyone. The relationship will only ever go as deep as you are willing to communicate with openness and honesty. Say what you mean, and work hard to say it in the way you would want it to be received. Try to put yourself in the other persons shoes for a minute and think about how you would want that sentence, greeting, criticism, word of encouragement to be said. How would we want to receive that spoken and unspoken communication?

Try to be constructive and focus on the positives of the other person or group.

Proverbs 18:21,” your tongue has the power of life or death.”

Bring life and love to our relationships.

 

Teams

Church life depends on groups of teams who give time and energy to making sure church life runs as smooth as possible. It is a group of two or more people ideally. It usually has some sort of leader or a nominated person who takes on board creating the rotas or creating jobs for individuals within the role of the team they are involved in.

“But most other church ministries would be far more effective if they worked as a team: a pastoral group rather than just a pastor; an eldership in harness with a minister; a music group to reinforce the organist; a finance committee assisting a treasurer. Harmonious teamwork doesn’t just add to the effectiveness; it multiplies it. It brings fulfilment and personal growth to each team member. And it’s a working model of Christianity in action to the people the team is serving.”

In the steps of Timothy, Lance Pierson

 

Money happy?

John Wesley said , “When I have any money, I get rid of it as quickly as possible, lest it find a way into my heart.”
He felt that the more possessions we have, the harder it will be to leave it or give it up. We have to leave it all behind anyway, so is it important to hold things of this world lightly?
1 Tim. 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
There is nothing wrong at all with money, or having it, I am not suggesting that it is bad or evil as this verse is often misquoted with saying. Loving it, not wanting to lose it, and this love of it is where the problems can arise.
Kept in check and a good perspective, money can be used for so much good, and can be a blessing to us and those around us. It can be life changing in so many good and amazing ways.
Nearly half of the parables Jesus told were about money or generosity. It is important enough for our Lord to talk that much about it to those around Him.
Someone once said, “Generosity is not measured by how much you give. It is measured by how much you have left.”
Does our depth of spirituality show itself by how we handle the money we have? Does money make such a difference to how we worship? Are we only happy if we have more than others? Can money really buy happiness?

Living Stones

The Church of God is built of us all, we are the living stones held together by the mortar of Jesus Christ. We are a family of stones, all connected by our Lord. A family of believers who are here because the first Church who walked the Earth with Jesus, gave all they had and all they were to make sure that the Good news and the Gospel of Jesus was spread across the entire world. They died for their belief, gave up all they had, their families, homes, jobs, the lot. They wanted to make sure that until the day their Lord came back to Earth, the message He sent them out with never faded or died with Him. They did their utmost, and we are here today in the 21st Century still with His Gospel. If we sit and think of all the years the same message has been the same, how it has changed the world and peoples lives as it passed from one year into the next, we would be there for a while. Our Church family, our spiritual relatives, were martyred and tortured to make sure we go to heaven with them. They were so brave, and lived for their Lord. What about us? Will the message of hope be the same message in 100 years? How about 500? What would we give up to make sure more people go to heaven with us? Would we give our lives, desires, families, to make sure we save as many as we can? What will it take from the 21st century believers to make sure Christ is known throughout the world?

Living stones are connected and a community. It doesnt matter the miles we are apart, even if we are on separate continents. We are all motivated by the desire to honour, love and live for our Lord. He has saved us from horrors we could never describe. He has saved us from ourselves, our sins, the sin of human nature that is opposed to God. The separation that was created with the first sin has been bridged for us. That sacrifice is the most precious gift we can ever be given. If we don’t do anything else in this life, we need to make sure that is the one thing we pay attention to and accept. We learn dependence, on God and each other. We belong to a safe community that has unity in the Lord who it loves. We learn to be cared for and learn to be who we were intended to be before sin and separation pulled us away.

1 Peter 2 vs 5 “You also as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.

Centrality of the Coss

Keeping what is sure and certain through our times of worship is essential. The Word is at the core of how we worship, but also the Cross of Christ.

Matthew 12 v 34. Out of the overflow of our hearts our mouths speak.

The more we take on the Word, the more it will flow not just out in our worship, but in our daily speaking. It affects the way we talk to our kids, fellow workers, our church family and strangers we meet on the bus. If we are taking in the Word and keeping the Cross central, what comes out of us will be based in the Word and the Cross. We will be bringing more and more of Christ into our daily lives.

Worship can lead us to keep the truths of God and His Word close to our hearts. Our minds will never be far away from praise if it full of His Word.

Who I am

I know a lot of my failings, and there are many more that others can see in me or that God can see that I don’t recognise yet. They will be shown to me at the right time, or at Gods timing for my life. It amazes me that He uses me with all my failings, warts, sins and all. God loves me and uses me for His kingdom as I am right now, and not who I will be 10 years from now, because who I will be then will be a different person. I know I am on a journey, but if I stop learning and growing in God, then I won’t be any different, but will stand still. To be different, I have to grow, learn and change my attitudes and heart to be more like God, then I will change into a more Christ-like child of God.
When I look in the Old Testament at some of the old “heroes” of the faith like Samson, Solomon and perhaps David, they were never super spiritual. God used them as they were for His kingdom and His purposes. They didn’t change for God to use them, they didn’t change who they were in God. We have consequences of living a sinful life, but God made us because He loves us.
We need to pray and ask God what He wants us to do for Him; who He wants us to speak to; how He wants us to live for Him; how we follow Him.

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