Saturday, February 14, 2009

STEP UP – Week One

Seek God …

See His Vision …

Save Room for Him to Work!


 

STEP UP

Step up to the plate and focus on the ball.

Seek God and His Will!

Step up to the plate and envision the homerun He has in store for you, your church, and your ministry.

See a Vision of a Bright and God Inspired Future!

Put away all thoughts, concerns, and obstacles to being 100% available for what God can do and wants to do.

Save Room for God to Work in Your Life, Ministry, and Church!

Your Tasks for This Week


 

Today

  1. Jot down names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, or whatever contact information you have for 3-5 people who need to be invited to the STEP UP banquet. Give them to Ann or Russ Ann before leaving.
  2. Pick up 1 or more extra copies of this pull out and bulletins for whoever you notice is not here. Drop it off on the way home or sometime early this week – or drop it in the mail tomorrow.
  3. Make sure that you have cleared March 14 at 5:00 P.M. on your calendar for the STEP UP banquet.


 

During the Week

  1. Do the daily devotions in this fold-over along with your regular devotions.
  2. Pray personally for the work of the Fellowship of Joy, for our finances, for our long-term vision, for our short term goals, for people to come to know Jesus, for people to unite with our fellowship, and for all of our people to become sold-out followers of Jesus Christ. Pray for each of our members that God brings to your heart and the people you know who need Jesus.
  3. Pray that God will help you to SEEK-SEE- SAVE ROOM and that he will reveal any impediment to these goals in your life and help you to remove them.
  4. Find one or two prayer partners with whom you can share these concerns in prayer every day on the phone, by email, or in person.
  5. Let God prepare your heart for the great things he wants to do in your life over the next six weeks.


 

SERMON: Luke 7:11-17 – When Hope Dies, Ministry Begins

Scripture quotes from "The New International Version" © International Bible Society

No one in Jesus' entourage that day what they were about to see. All they knew was that with Jesus, it would be interesting. What they did not know was that He would illustrate His power to intervene in a time of hopelessness to bring hope and would model the very principles we are considering today: seeking God, seeing a vision from God, and leaving room in our lives for God to work as He will.

(11) Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.

First, in the first verse, there were many just "going along" with Jesus. Have you ever been in that crowd? Just going along? Not entirely engaged, yet seeking? Seeking God is the key to a life of hope and purpose. When we truly seek and follow, we are going to be in for some surprises and some new insights.

(12) As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out – the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.

Have you ever found yourself at the convergence of conflicting crowds? Both are large, but one exudes hope while the other is preoccupied with death and despair. Here, the Jesus crowd meets the funeral crowd and what happens in explosive. But, because it is Jesus who is leading His crowd, He leads with compassion, sensitivity, and understanding. Sometimes the vision God has for us begins with seeing the world as it is, where pain is real and hope has died. Many lives are touched by the specific pain of one person. Pain radiates. In our world today, many are in pain and many more are affected by that pain. This may be the Pepsi generation, but Pepsi spelled upside down reads: IS DED.

(13) When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."

Here is an acronym for the word, "cry:"

    Crisis

    Remorse

    Yearning

Seeing a vision involves being touched by the pain and cries of another and being willing for our hearts to go out to those who hurt. If we are truly the people of Jesus, our lives will be characterized by the compassion of Jesus. We will not be able to hold back our hearts from the hurts of the world.

Hope had died for this woman. Not only had she lost her son, but she had lost her entire support system. Her future was very bleak, but Jesus speaks hope into her heart from his own broken heart with the words, "Don't cry." Here is yet another acronym, built on the word, "heart:"

Heavenly

    Engagement

    Always

    Reaching and

    Touching

That is the heart of Jesus. Heaven-sent, He is always engaged at the deepest levels, reaching out to us and touching us at our points of profound and soul wrenching need.

(14) Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up," (15) The dead man stood up and began to talk and Jesus gave
him back to his mother.

From being touched by the pain to touching that which was dead, Jesus demonstrated what it is for us to save room for God to work in the lives of people who are hopeless and in our own lives. This touch is nothing less than God touching him, disregarding any concerns for ceremonial defilement, Jesus touches death. He then tells the dead man to get up and returns him to his mother. When we are touched by the hand of Jesus and when we allow His hand to touch others through our touch, we are making room for God's work in our lives and in theirs. As He speaks to us to "GET UP," we are called also to "STEP UP" and be counted in his service. He would have us seeking him while being touched with a vision of the pain of the world and of how life can be with his healing, grace, and transformation. Then he would have us reach out and touch the pain of the world, thus saving room for him to work in us and through us to bring the change that will transform.

(16) They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said, "God has come to help his people. (17) This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

A ministry's reputation is built on just this kind of word of mouth. All who behold it will bear witness to it. Ours is to demonstrate. Then they will propagate the good news that when hope dies, it can live again.


 


I AM STEPPING UP WITH THESE NAMES of folks to invite to the banquet:


 

Please give us whatever information you have, even if it is incomplete, including names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and your number.


 

Your Name _______________

Your # __________________

Your EMAIL :


 


 

My Friends Are:


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

STEP UP DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS for February 16-22

Monday, February 16 -(Jeremiah 10:23 ) "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."- We like to think we are in charge of everything in our lives. In reality, we are only in charge of our choices, our beliefs, and our attitudes. Our task is to seek God through everything else, to be open to Him and to be ready to be obedient to the vision that He plants in our hearts .

Tuesday, February 17 - (Romans 4:12) …who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham…." The promises of God transcend time and lineage and are extended to all come to Him in faith. What God offered Abraham in terms of a vision of significance for His life, is available for us. We can be blessed to be a blessing to others. In your seeking and visioning this day, are you saving room for the great things God wants to do in and through you?

Wednesday, February18 - (I Peter 2:21 ) "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" – We are called to walk in the steps of Jesus, whether those steps lead through paths of suffering or of glory. He is our example. Let us follow Him. Ask Him to help you see the path He where He is leading and His vision for a future. Then, make room in your life for Him to lead you.

Thursday, February 19 – (Heb 11:6) "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." God demands much of us in faith because He demands much of Himself in what he intends to give in response to our faith. He rewards those who seek Him with true diligence of heart and energy He rewards us with vision and fulfillment if we will make room in our busy and distracted lives for him to work..

Friday, February 20 - (Heb 11:14) "For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country". We, the people of God, on the journey of faith, are seeking something that has not yet appeared. That requires faith and vision. Where are your longings? What part of you cries out to God for what God alone can accomplish? Hang your faith there. Let Him develop the vision within you. Let Him bring it to pass.

Saturday, February 21 - (Col 3:1) "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." Having been risen with Christ, Christ becomes our focus and where He is, there we are going. Why should we long for anything outside of His purposes?

Sunday, February 22 - (Heb 13:14)" For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come." Nothing of this world lasts. Everything in God's purpose endures. Given the outcome, what will you choose in which to invest your life?


 

How is God speaking to you this week?

Monday, February 09, 2009

STEP UP DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS - Week of February 9-15

This is a little late, but it works:


 

Monday, February 9 -(Psalm 73:2 ) "But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped." - Faith is not equivalent to overconfidence. It is not about being careless about our ways. If it were not for God, our feet would slip. Without God, left to our own devices, slippage is a probability. Never forget that it is God who makes you to stand and sustains you. You need Him .

Tuesday, February 10 - (Psalm 85:13) "Righteousness shall go before him; and he shall set us on the way of his steps." -Among the good things God gives is His righteousness. Righteousness being rightly related to God and others and being on the right path in the right direction. When His righteousness envelopes us, He sets us on the way of His steps - not ours. His intent is to establish us in His way. To the extent that such is your prayer and the intent of your heart, it shall be granted. How does this inform your praying today?.

Wednesday, February11 - (Psalm 85:13b ) "... the way of his steps" - What might "the way of his steps" mean? Perhaps we are tempted to know too soon the answer for that question when God intends for us to seek, follow, notice, and celebrate. One of the great temptations of modern man is to rush too quickly into definition. Definitions limit. God expands His way before us. Start seeking.

Thursday, February 12 - .(Psalm 119:33 ) "Order my steps in thy word; and let not iniquity have dominion over me" It is not so hard to learn how to pray. We need only open the scriptures and emulate the great prayers there. None is greater, deeper, and more transforming that this one. It is two fold. The first part is for God to bring us into complete agreement with Him - our lives aligned with His word. The second is for freedom from sin. Sin has the affect of lording itself over us. The prayer of the saint is that it will be rendered powerless in our lives.

Friday, February 13 - (Proverbs 4:12 ) " When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened (hampered, restrained; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble" There are some conditions for this promise of not hineded steps and freedom from stumbling. Fist, we will value and embrace wisdom. Second, we will listen to good advice. We will be willingly guided,. We will avoid evil. We will guard out hearts and lips. We will tune our focus. We will keep on the path. These are the conditions of a walk that is sure footed and not hindered. How is that working out for you?

Saturday, February14 - (Proverbs 16:9 ) "A man deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." - While you are working on everything else in your life and attempting to "get it right," don't forget that God is ultimately in charge. Anything short of trusting Him will leave you bereft of hope and stumbling without direction.

Sunday, February 15
- (Psa 16:0 ) "... the LORD directeth his steps" While you are seeking, following, noticing, and celebrating, pay attention to this question: How has God been directing my steps recently and where does He seem to be leading me?


 


 

Saturday, January 31, 2009

STEP UP DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS - Week of February 2-8


 

Monday, February 2 -"(2 Sam 22:37 ) Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.." - God has given you enough room to walk wherever He wants you to go. While it may seem that the circumstances of your life are overly restrictive and crippling for your ministry, the Lord who has called you knows what you need in order to fulfill your calling. Trust in Him.

Tuesday, February 3 - "(Job 14:16 ) For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?" - Even in His sorrow and pain, Job understood that he had not escaped God's attention. He is paying attention to you as well. Sometimes we think that God is sleeping or unaware of our struggles. He is not. He is watching over you always. When you step up and when you fall back, His eye is on you. He has you in focus.

Wednesday, February 4 - "(Job 31:4 ) Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?" - God is counting your steps. He knows how far you need to go and how far you can go. He knows when you will need for Him to provide an oasis. He knows when you need encouragement. He is watching you, equipping you, and providing for you. He not only knows your present circumstances, but He has scouted out the path ahead of you. Trust in the Lord.

Thursday, February 5 - ."(Psa 18:36 ) Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip." We read these words Monday from a different text. You will not lose your footing if you walk where God leads you. The way may seem precariously narrow and treacherous, but God is with you and has mapped out the course that He is leading you to follow. So, follow it.

Friday, February 6 - "(Psa 37:23 ) The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." God's people can be assured that they are never abandoned to guess about how and where to walk in their obedience to Christ. There is an abundance of guidance to lead us along the way. Even if we feel that we have not heard from God in a long time, we need only to open the scriptures to find enough divine leadership to last a lifetime if we will but follow it. When we do, we find ourselves in a place of great delight!

Saturday, February 7 - "(Psa 37:31 ) The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide." - When, and to the extent that God's Word is embedded in your heart and assimilated into your life, your steps remain steady. You do not fall. To the extent that we insist on our own way, we are prone to slippage. We may have trouble when we are in the will of God. He may lead us into a valley of failure in order to tain and educate us, but He will never lead us into utter devastation.

Sunday, February 8
- "(Psa 44:18 ) Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;" May we come to the end of the day and the end of our lives with this prayer of testimony, that we have followed where God has led and delighted in doing so. Amen.


 


 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Report from the Retreat

202/STEP UP Retreat Report


 

Vision Question: "If God placed a dream deep inside you and that dream became a reality, would the world become a better place?" - Erwin Raphael McManus Two Big Dates: 2020 in just 11 years + 1 month & Age 55 (AARP and Hometown Buffet next year)


 

FOCUS Groups that Reflect Our Values and Corporate Culture

The Young and those with a young outlook on life.

The Poorand those who are called to minister to the poor

The Broken from all walks of life and levels of economic status. We are all broken.

The Dreamersbusiness, social, & spiritual entrepreneurs who see things that never were and say, "Why not?"


 

CORE Calling: The Great Commandment (Our Ethical Calling), The Great Commission (Our Doctrinal Calling), The Spirit Upon Us (Our Missional Calling).


 

On Friday night, we celebrated things we do well: welcoming of all ages and types of people, singing, openness to the broken, skate ministry, diversity, home like atmosphere, fellowship, squeezing dollars, sharing ministries, time flexibility, opportunities, potential, potlucks, VBS, being busy and active, sharing community resources.


 

We also listed areas for improvement: outreach, singing, youth and children's activities, training, reaching parents of kids involved, gardens and food ministries, personal evangelism, singles, community dinners, the physical plant.


 

We brainstormed some ideal ministries and outreaches through: quilting, book clubs, family fun nights, neighborhood watch, movie nights, Purpose Driven Life study, tutoring, recipe section on the web site.


 

We also passed on the mission statement, core values, and statement of beliefs.


 

  1. A Mission Statement:
    To call people to life change and participation in God's Kingdom through the message of Good News in Jesus Christ


 

  1. A Statement of Core Values:
  • We value people: The Fellowship of Joy is a friendly and welcoming community of faith
  • We value the Word of God: The Fellowship of Joy seeks to present Bible truths in a clear, practical, and interesting manner.
  • We value human dignity and freedom as well as Biblical morality: The Fellowship of Joy is a church that is accepting and non-judgmental without compromising on crucial moral issues or spiritual truth.
  • We value grace: The Fellowship of Joy is joyful and fun in its practice of spiritual growth and ministry in an atmosphere of grace.
  • We value relationships: The Fellowship of Joy is a community where people find deep and fulfilling friendships.
  • We value our heritage: The Fellowship of Joy at Baptist Temple is a Baptist church and is committed to the priesthood of the believer, the autonomy of the local church, and partnership with other churches in the cause of worldwide missions.
  • We value the Mission of God in our own city and around the world: The Fellowship of Joy is "missional" and engaged in the life of the community as an agent of God's transformation with a spirit of excitement and action.


 

  1. Deep Beliefs (Doctrinal Statement or Statement of Beliefs):
  • We believe in the Triune God – Father Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the authority and reliability of the Bible.
  • We believe that Jesus was miraculously conceived, lived a holy life, called men and women to repentance, died for our sins, arose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, sent the gift of the Holy Spirit to baptize and fill believers, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and is coming again to judge the living and the dead and reign forever.
  • We believe that human beings were made in God's image, have fallen due to sin, need a Savior, and must individually receive the free gift of God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ and make Him Lord of their lives in order to be saved and inherit eternal life.
  • We believe that the kingdom of God is both present and future and is the reign of Jesus Christ in the lives of people, in the church, and in the world.
  • We believe that the local church is an autonomous body of believers in Jesus Christ who gather to worship, serve, proclaim the Kingdom message, and fellowship with each other, that the two ordinances of the church are believer's baptism by immersion and the Lord's Supper, and that every member of the body is a priest before God, called into covenant with the other members, and called and gifted for ministry. The leaders and equippers of the ministers are called pastors.
  • We believe that Christians are called to live by biblical standards of morality and ethics and that it is the role of the local church to teach godly principles, aid in spiritual growth, and provide accountability relationships for its members.
  • We believe that the local church and its members are part of a larger, universal body of believers comprising all who have ever followed Jesus and that it must cooperate with other Christians of like mind and purpose in the mission of God in the world.


 

  1. Vision/Dream for 2020 – A Picture of the Future


 

We are a HUB for ministries that touch and transform our community.

Reaching our community for Christ through ministries such as counseling, addiction reclamation, food and nutrition ministries, children's ministries, job creation, and manufacturing.


 

We SEE the community (community development) – Support, Encourage, Equip

We support the people of our community in their own efforts to build community.

We encourage them through our involvement and through the gospel.

We equip them to build by partnering with them.


 

We GATHER as multiple congregations in one facility and in multiple locations to be the church.

We have 10 or more worship gatherings on site reaching diverse groups.

We plant congregations off site that remain a part of our church.

We gather from time to time as one body.


 

We SCATTER as we send our members into the entire world and remain connected to them.

We intentionally train send, and support our members in going out into the world on mission.


  1. Goals

We did not finish this process. We did develop some goals for a couple of these areas for 2020 and several for the year 2010. It was felt that one of the goals that would be necessary to accomplish and finance our vision would be to increase the size of our base. This will require more work and another meeting or two.


 

  • Increase our level of membership involvement/engagement in ministry to 100%.
    • Every member part of a ministry TEAM – even for solo ministries, people will gather a team for support, accountability, and prayer. This will also serve to involve every member in a small group since this team will engage in all the purposes of the local church. – Target: 2010
    • Method – Action Plans
      • Celebration – We must recognize each ministry, inside and outside the church and celebrate it.
      • Invitation – One person invites another to join in.
      • Equipping – We must develop a process for moving people from spectators to full participants in ministry.
    • By 2020, 100% of the members will continue to be engaged in ministry teams and people will be coming to BT/FOJ for the purpose of engaging.
  • Develop a clear process of discipleship and ministry training by 2010.
  • Increase our capacity.
    • By 2010 – an average attendance of 100 in all the worship gatherings sponsored by our church.
    • By 2020 – an average attendance of 2020 in all the worship gatherings sponsored by our church.
    • By 2010 – Increase our giving (stabilize) at $120,000 per year.


     

What are we trying to do with 2020 and with STEP UP?

Review of both processes

Review of Pressing Needs

Introduction of Financial Peace University

Why the Vision Thing?


 

Vision Question: "If God placed a dream deep inside you and that dream became a reality, would the world become a better place?" - Erwin Raphael McManus


 

For 2020 VISION:

13% 87%


 

REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR. - So what are we about if it is not to call people to life change under God's new big deal?


 

Two Big Dates: 2020 in just 11 years + 1 month & Age 55 (AARP and Hometown Buffet next year)


 

We must develop a positive and bold strategy to proclaim good news of God's Kingdom and call people to life change.

God has placed us …

Inner city

    New generation

        A strange pastor

            Worldwide turmoil

                Concern for the poor

                    ADD church

                        Multiple Everything!


 

Plant Churches Where We Are – Cultural/Language – Cyber – Age


 

FOCUS Groups that Reflect Our Values and Corporate Culture

The Young

The Poor

The Broken

The Dreamers


 

CORE Calling: The Great Commandment (Our Ethical Calling), The Great Commission (Our Doctrinal Calling), The Spirit Upon Us (Our Missional Calling).


 

We need

  1. A Mission Statement:

    To call people to life change and participation in God's Kingdom through the message of Good News in Jesus Christ


 

  1. A Statement of Core Values:
  • We value people: The Fellowship of Joy is a friendly and welcoming community of faith
  • We value the Word of God: The Fellowship of Joy seeks to present Bible truths in a clear, practical, and interesting manner.
  • We value human dignity and freedom as well as Biblical morality: The Fellowship of Joy is a church that is accepting and non-judgmental without compromising on crucial moral issues or spiritual truth.
  • We value grace: The Fellowship of Joy is joyful and fun in its practice of spiritual growth and ministry in an atmosphere of grace.
  • We value relationships: The Fellowship of Joy is a community where people find deep and fulfilling friendships.
  • We value our heritage: The Fellowship of Joy at Baptist Temple is a Baptist church and is committed to the priesthood of the believer, the autonomy of the local church, and partnership with other churches in the cause of worldwide missions.
  • We value the Mission of God in our own city and around the world: The Fellowship of Joy is "missional" and engaged in the life of the community as an agent of God's transformation with a spirit of excitement and action.


 

  1. Deep Beliefs:
  • We believe in the Triune God – Father Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the authority and reliability of the Bible.
  • We believe that Jesus was miraculously conceived, lived a holy life, called men and women to repentance, died for our sins, arose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, sent the gift of the Holy Spirit to baptize and fill believers, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and is coming again to judge the living and the dead and reign forever.
  • We believe that human beings were made in God's image, have fallen due to sin, need a Savior, and must individually receive the free gift of God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ and make Him Lord of their lives in order to be saved and inherit eternal life.
  • We believe that the kingdom of God is both present and future and is the reign of Jesus Christ in the lives of people, in the church, and in the world.
  • We believe that the local church is an autonomous body of believers in Jesus Christ who gather to worship, serve, proclaim the Kingdom message, and fellowship with each other, that the two ordinances of the church are believer's baptism by immersion and the Lord's Supper, and that every member of the body is a priest before God, called into covenant with the other members, and called and gifted for ministry. The leaders and equippers of the ministers are called pastors.
  • We believe that Christians are called to live by biblical standards of morality and ethics and that it is the role of the local church to teach godly principles, aid in spiritual growth, and provide accountability relationships for its members.
  • We believe that the local church and its members are part of a larger, universal body of believers comprising all who have ever followed Jesus and that it must cooperate with other Christians of like mind and purpose in the mission of God in the world.


 

  1. Vision/Dream for 2020


 

Describe the community and the world today:


 

What is the role of our church in the community and the world today?


 

What would we like to see our community, city, nation, world look like in 2015? 2020?


 

Community        City        Nation        World


 

What will be our role in that transformation?


 

  1. Goals


 

Overall Goals:


 

Goal Categories:


 

Specific Goals


 

What are our goals for our facilities, organization, ministries, and programs to achieve these goals?


 

Strategies – Action Plans:


 

(6) A Strategy to Get There.

Bible Study/Discussion on Vision

Genesis 15:1 - After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. Q and A: What was the purpose of God's vision to Abram?

Genesis 46:   - And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, "Jacob! Jacob!"  "Here I am," he replied.  3 - "I am God, the God of your father," he said. "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. Q and A: What was the purpose of God's vision to Israel?

I Samuel 3:1 - The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions . 15 - Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, Q and A: Why was Samuel afraid?

Psalm 18:19 - Once you spoke in a vision, to your faithful people you said: "I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have exalted a young man from among the people. Q and A: How had this vision affected David's life?

Jeremiah 23:16 - This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. Q and A: What is the caution here about vision? Are all visions from God?

Lamentations 2:9 - … the law is no more, and her prophets no longer find visions from the LORD. Q and A: What is the lament here? How tragic is it when there is no vision?

Ezekiel 1:1 - In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. Q and A: What is the great vision here?

Ezekiel 11: 23 - The glory of the LORD went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it. 24 - The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the exiles in Babylonia in the vision given by the Spirit of God.  Then the vision I had seen went up from me, 25 - and I told the exiles everything the LORD had shown me. Q and A: Why was this a timely thing?

Ezekiel 12:27 - "Son of man, the house of Israel is saying, 'The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future.' Q and A: What does this say to us about having a long term vision?

Daniel 2:19 - During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. Q and A: How did Daniel respond to the vision from God

Daniel 7:  20 - While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill- 21 - while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 - He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. Q and A: What can we learn from Daniel's description of his vision experience?

Daniel 9:23 - As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision: Q and A: What can we learn about God's responsiveness to prayer?

Joel 2:28 (quoted by Peter in Acts 20) -] "And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Q and A: What about vision and Spirit?

Acts 9-10 – From the Bible Q and A: Discussion of the role of visions in the expansion of missions

Acts 18: 8 - Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.  9 - One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 - For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." Q and A: What sort of vision/purpose was this?

Acts 26: 18 - … to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'  19 - "So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 - First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. Q and A: What does Paul's example teach us about what we are to do with a vision from God?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

STEP UP DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS: Week of January 19-25

January 19 -(Mat 7:24 KJV) "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock" - There are two steps to the process of preparing for a wise and productive life in the Kingdom of God. The first is to hear. The second is to do. Hearers who are not doers gain nothing. Doers who do not first hear, end up doing the wrong thing recklessly, People who build rock solid foundations for their lives both hear and do. What steps are you taking to more clearly, effectively, and deeply hear the Word of God? What kingdom truths are you practicing daily?

January 20 - "(Mat 7:25a KJV) "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;" - Rain will descend upon the righteous. Floods will come., Winds will blow and beat upon our lives. Count on trouble. Hard times are common for humanity. Christianity offers no exemptions or bypasses. We share a common humanity with all others on this planet. The difference in our lives is not that we have more protection from hardship. It is that we are prepared and equipped to withstand the storms of life. What are you hearing and doing to prepare for life's storms?

January 21 - (Mat 7:25b KJV) ".. and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.." - The house of the kingdom person is not subject to the storms. The kingdom person, who hears and does the words of Jesus, is equipped to stand and withstand at a deeper level. We might be shaken. We are sometimes discouraged. We often forget what we have already understood once, but we cannot be utterly destroyed by hurt, pain, or trials. Your only real hope in this world is Jesus. Everything else may fail, but what is founded on Him will last.

January 22 - "(Mat 7:26a KJV) "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man," The difference between the wise man and the fool is not what he hears, but what he does with what he hears. Jesus is not here condemning the person who has never heard. He is passing an indictment on the one who has been privileged to hear the word and has chosen to ignore it. Are you in danger of foolish living because you are not acting one what you already know to do?

January 23 - "(Mat 7:26 KJV) "... which built his house upon the sand:" The antithesis of wisdom is the foolishness of building a wonderful structure on a foundation of sand. Sand, by its nature, shifts. So do the philosophies and ideologies of this world. The words of Jesus endure and cause us to endure. Perhaps you have been subject the the fads and passing fantasies of our times which change many times within a generation. What is in your life that is so shaky you cannot count on it in a storm? What will you do about it?

January 24 - (Mat 7:27a KJV) " And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell:." - We have all seen lives, ministries, and institutions fall for lack of foundation. The same storms that test and refine people of faith, cause others to crumble. Storms don't have to destroy us. We can overcome. But we must do so by solidifying our lives at the foundational level. Nothing else will do. There is something you can do today about this and you know what it is?

January 25 - (Mat 7:27 KJV) "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." When you fall spiritually you fall significantly. It's a great fall. Some storms are mild, but sooner or later we will all face a humdinger and when that happens, there will be no time to prepare. Only what you have previously invested in Kingdom values will be of any use to you at that time. What will you hear and do today to prepare for tomorrow?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

STEP UP

STEP UP is a visioning process for the Fellowship of Joy at Baptist Temple church of Fresno, CA. STEP UP is a call to Step Up to the plate and hit a home run for God as one of our members told me Sunday. It is also a capital development campaign, but it is much MORE. It is a time of revival and renewal of our lives, our dreams, and our commitments to Jesus Christ. STEP UP is an opportunity to pray and seek God for miracles in our church, our community, our personal relationships with God, our ministries, and our own finances as we develop sound principles of personal stewardship. STEP UP is an opportunity to serve, commit, and give sacrificially. STEP UP is a bold initiative to clarify our church's VISION, launch a bold strategy, makes some improvements to our facilities, and solidify our financial base so that we can more effectively fulfill our mission in the city.

S Seek God to See a vision and Save room for God to work in your life. In Luke 7:11-17, Jesus interrupts a funeral to bring hope and life. May He interrupt us all as we see things the same old way, seek the same old answers and crowd Him out of our lives. "Don't cry," He says as He brings hope and life. SEEK, SEE, and SAVE!

T – Think differently about God, life, and money and Tune your life anew to the Spirit and God's possibilities. In Luke 7:18-35, Jesus calls us to think differently about values, about greatness, and about how His mission is accomplished in the earth. The movement of His Spirit shatters all preconceived notions and leads us to a new plane of thinking. THINK AND TUNE!

E – Eliminate the waste and debt in our lives and Extend our influence as citizens of God's new Kingdom. In Matthew 11:20-30, Jesus pronounces woes upon those have squandered their opportunities for participation in the Kingdom, but welcomes those who are unlikely candidates for greatness to come into His rest and fulfillment. Life in the Kingdom means we turn our backs on some of our old values and old way and embrace a new adventure of grace. We take on the yoke of Christ and find that His burden is light! Eliminate and Extend.

P – Plan your giving. Plan your life. In Luke 7:36-50 Jesus was anointed by a woman who made great sacrifices to give of who she was and what she possessed to honor Him and bless Him. She gave because of the joy of forgiveness and grace in her heart – and she planned it. What great dream has God planted in your heart that, if it were accomplished, would advance the Kingdom of God? Plan and Plan


 

U – Understand the times and Understand what you must do. In Matthew 12:22-39 and Mark 3:20-30 – What do you do when the Kingdom comes upon you and you experience great deliverance from God? These are times of decision that call for commitment. Understand the times and what must be done.

P – Put your time, talents, and money where your beliefs are. Commitment Sunday. It is time to act. Put Up or …


 

THIS MONTH WITH STEP UP (Campaign begins in February)

Soup and Seek: Step Up and 20/20 Vision Bible Study

Sunday, January 04, 2009 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Same Bible Study on Sunday at 9:30 A.M. and Tuesday at 7:00 P.M.

Doctrine, By Laws, and Strategy Study Group

Tuesday, January 06, 2009 6:00 PM – 6:45 PM

Step Up and 20/20 Vision Bible Study

Tuesday, January 06, 2009 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Two Gates Matthew 7:13-14, Vision Focus: Deep Beliefs 2

Sunday, January 11, 2009 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

First Banquet Letter and Brochure

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fruit, Matthew 7:15-24, Vision Focus: Deep Beliefs 3

Sunday, January 18, 2009 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Church Retreat

Friday, January 23, 2009 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

12638 Cumorah Dr. Clovis, CA. 93619

Church Retreat

Saturday, January 24, 2009 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

12638 Cumorah Dr. Clovis, CA. 93619

Build a Strong Building, Matthew 7:24-29, Vision Focus: Strategy

Sunday, January 25, 2009 11:15 AM – 12:00 PM

Vision and 20/20 Goals Report to the church

Sunday, January 25, 2009 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM


 

STEP UP TEAMS

Each team has its own goals, tasks, and dates. Each will be given a set of specific instructions.


 

  1. Staff and Existing Leadership – Develop a budget and goals for the campaign lead the church to adopt a 2020 vision (Vision Statement, Mission, Purpose , Core Values, By Laws, and a 10-11 year Strategy Plan,)
  2. Visitation Team - 4 Teams to visit, pray with, and encourage each family in the church.
  3. Prayer and Small Groups Team – Organize, train, and equip groups to pray during STEP UP
  4. Themes Team - Design and decorate the church and help create a logo .
  5. Materials Team– Help us get it all together, fold, stuff, address, copy, cut, sort.
  6. Testimonies Team – Bring people to the platform who can testify to God's faithfulness and the joy of participating in His work.
  7. Web Team – Develop and implement website and email strategy .
  8. Commitment and Follow-Up Team – Oversee this key part of the campaign process. Lead the church through the times of commitment and follow up process.
  9. Banquet and Program Team – Arrange a great culminating event with food, entertainment, and inspiration on or around Commitment Sunday.

Step Up Devotions for January 5-11

STEP UP is a visioning process for the Fellowship of Joy at Baptist Temple church of Fresno, CA. STEP UP is a call to Step Up to the plate and hit a home run for God as one of our members told me Sunday. It is also a capital development campaign, but it is much MORE. It is a time of revival and renewal of our lives, our dreams, and our commitments to Jesus Christ. STEP UP is an opportunity to pray and seek God for miracles in our church, our community, our personal relationships with God, our ministries, and our own finances as we develop sound principles of personal stewardship. STEP UP is an opportunity to serve, commit, and give sacrificially. STEP UP is a bold initiative to clarify our church's VISION, launch a bold strategy, makes some improvements to our facilities, and solidify our financial base so that we can more effectively fulfill our mission in the city.

Monday – January 5 – "Ask and it will be given you." (Matthew 7:7a, NKJV) – At the risk of seeming obvious, have you asked God for anything lately? Have you with some heart for a pure motive and unselfish desire asked for Him to supply your needs, lead you according to His purposes, given you strength and wisdom to become all He wants you to be, and to help you delight in Him so that He may give you the desires of your heart? "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4 - NIV)" That being in place, perhaps the word in James 4:2 is operative; "You do not have, because you do not ask God. (NIV). As a community of believers, as individual members of the church, and as individuals before God, it behooves us to learn to ask.

Tuesday – January 6 – "Seek and you will find." (Matthew 7:7b, NKJV) – Emily Daniels, my high school Sunday school teacher used to remind us to put legs on our prayers. I always wondered if that was a bit unspiritual until I realized it was very true. God expects us to seek after what He is supplying for us. He hides treasures in odd places. He invites us to participate in His provision. He calls us into a mystical and practical partnership. Where are you seeking for God's best? What are you seeking? How are you seeking? Are you limited what Good can provide for you and do through you by refusing to seek diligently and turn over all the rocks? Embrace the promise of more today and find God's best.

Wednesday – January 7 – "Knock and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7c, NKJV) – All of the imperatives in this verse describe continuous action: Keep on asking. Keep on receiving. Keep on knocking. By the time we get to knocking, it is obvious without even knowing the verb structure that persistence is the key to laying hold of the promises of God. We cannot stop short of our goals. We dare not quit before the finish line. To do so would be to diminish the meaning of all past efforts, prayers, and discipline. Our quest is a lifetime process, not a quick and easy fix. We are called to step up and to keep stepping up. My wife once hired a young man, not because his resume was impressive or because he was an outstanding candidate for the job, but because he proved his desire to do that particular job by coming in several times a week to inquire about it. God wants us to deeply desire His best and to demonstrate that desire with persistence.

Thursday – January 8 – "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (Matthew 7:11) – God is good. That is a theological fact. We are sinners, broken by the fall. That is also a fact. But even as sinners, we know how to give good gifts to our children. How much more will a God who is 100% good give good gifts to His children whom He loves? We are His children. He loves us. He wants to give His best to us. He is waiting for our to do our part for own good so that we will not just be receptacles of blessings, but participants in His purpose. It is about the character of God and the love He has for us.

Friday – January 9 – "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12) – If God were a man, this is how He would treat us. It is how He treats us. It is also how He mandates that we treat each other. It is a positive command to be proactive, not a caution of restraint. It is the essence of all He has ever sought to reveal through the scriptures. It is what makes God's people salt and light. It is the secret of true prosperity and fulfillment. It is the Golden Rule. How will you go out of your way today to observe it?

Saturday – January 10 - "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." (Matthew 7:13, NIV) – Destruction is easy. It is the path of least resistance. The call to step up to call of God is a call to reject the easy path, to shun the downhill slide, and to despise call to mediocrity. God has no interest in our earthly comfort zones or addiction to convenience. He values those qualities little in our lives or churches where we often value them much. Whether Jesus is speaking of the destruction of our eternal souls, of our dreams, or our earthly lives, the principle holds. It is easy to get shipwrecked by esteeming ease about all other values. Could we decide today to be suspicious of every broad path and path to which the masses flock? If we see the crowds gathering, let us look further for a path of life.

Sunday - January 11 – "But small is the gate and narrows the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:14, NIV) You will be in a distinct minority to the extent to which you choose the path of life. It is a gate you may have to squeeze and contort yourself to get through. You will not shape it. It will shape you. Most people are intimidated by the potential of being odd or out of step with the crowd. But when we step up to God's plate, we often stand alone. Life, in all its dimensions, fullness, and implications is experienced only by a few who are willing to be different and to fit into some pretty tight places for God. But once through the gate, it is the path of greatest freedom and joy. We wonder why we didn't choose it all along.


 

Monday, December 29, 2008


STEP UP


STEP UP is a call to Step Up to the plate and hit a home run for God as one of our members told me Sunday.

It is a capital development campaign, but it is much MORE.

It is a time of revival and renewal of our lives, our dreams, and our commitments to Jesus Christ.

STEP UP is an opportunity to pray and seek God for miracles in our church, our community, our personal relationships with God, our ministries, and our own finances as we develop sound principles of personal stewardship.

STEP UP is an opportunity to serve, commit, and give sacrificially.

STEP UP is a bold initiative to clarify our church's VISION, launch a bold strategy, makes some improvements to our facilities, and solidify our financial base so that we can more effectively fulfill our mission in the city.

The following projects will be funded in order of priority through the pledges and gifts of our people and community:

Debt Retirement - $60,000

Bathroom Renovation and Beautification – Amount to be announced

Renovation of the Praise Chapel and Room 16 as funds allow

Development of Reserves for ministry, mission, and operation


What Does STEP UP Stand For?

STEP

S
Seek God to See a vision and Save room for God to work in your life. In Luke 7:11-17, Jesus interrupts a funeral to bring hope and life. May He interrupt us all as we see things the same old way, seek the same old answers and crowd Him out of our lives. "Don't cry," He says as He brings hope and life. SEEK, SEE, and SAVE!

T –
T
hink differently about God, life, and money and Tune your life anew to the Spirit and God's possibilities. In Luke 7:18-35, Jesus calls us to think differently about values, about greatness, and about how His mission is accomplished in the earth. The movement of His Spirit shatters all preconceived notions and leads us to a new plane of thinking. THINK AND TUNE!

E –
E
liminate the waste and debt in our lives and
Extend our influence as citizens of God's new Kingdom. In Matthew 11:20-30, Jesus pronounces woes upon those have squandered their opportunities for participation in the Kingdom, but welcomes those who are unlikely candidates for greatness to come into His rest and fulfillment. Life in the Kingdom means we turn our backs on some of our old values and old way and embrace a new adventure of grace. We take on the yoke of Christ and find that His burden is light! Eliminate and Extend.

P –
P
lan your giving. Plan your life. In Luke 7:36-50 Jesus was anointed by a woman who made great sacrifices to give of who she was and what she possessed to honor Him and bless Him. She gave because of the joy of forgiveness and grace in her heart – and she planned it. What great dream has God planted in your heart that, if it were accomplished, would advance the Kingdom of God? Plan and Plan


UP

U –
U
nderstand the times and Understand what you must do. In Matthew 12:22-39 and Mark 3:20-30 – What do you do when the Kingdom comes upon you and you experience great deliverance from God? These are times of decision that call for commitment. Understand the times and what must be done.

P –
P
ut your time, talents, and money where your beliefs are. Commitment Sunday. It is time to act. Put Up or …


Time Line

January 4 and February 1 – Pastor's Bible studies are devoted to "Soup and Seek," applying the scriptures to our mission, vision, and strategy. (Pastor)


January - Team Meetings will be brief reports at the beginning of the services and during Sunday afternoon "Soup and Seek" times. Web site goes online and emails begin (Web Team)


January 6, 13, 20, 27 – Doctrine, By-Laws, and Strategy Study Group meets at 6:00 P.M. – Open to all. (Pastor's 6:30 Bible Study will move to 6:45 P.M. for those weeks).


January 12 – First invitation letter for banquet is mailed to community friends (Materials Support Team)


January 23 and 24Vision Retreat at the home of Tom and Andrea Sims – 12638 Cumorah Drive, Clovis, 93619 – Take Shaw past Wild Water Adventures. Take the last left before Academy (Greewood). Turn right on Cumorah. Turn left into the second driveway. Outcome: Mission, Vision, and Core Values Statements, Bylaws, Statement of Beliefs, and Basic Strategy Plan for 2020. (Pastor & All)


January 25 – First Vision Report and STEP UP goals to the church. (Pastor)


February 4 - Vision Report and STEP goals adopted. (Pastor) Church starts to see artwork, decorations, reminders, logos, posters, and other thematic reminders of STEP UP ( Themes Team) .


February 6-8 – Weekend of Prayer & Fasting and Campaign Kick-Off rally. (All)


February 9, 16, 23, March 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 – STEP UP mailings, including letters, devotionals, and other materials. (Materials Support Team & Commitment and Follow Up Team).


February 9 14 – STEP UP visits in homes to (1) enlist prayer, ask for prayer requests, and pray with the families of our church, (2) enlist their participation, (3) explain the Vision of the church and the goals of STEP UP, (4) enlist them in prayer/study groups. (Visitation Team). Small Groups are formed or identified (if already meeting) to pray weekly in person or by phone for STEP UP and for each other (Prayer and Small Group Team)


February 15, 22, March 1, 8, 15, and 22 – The SIX Sundays of STEP UP (a different letter for each.) Testimonies in the services (Testimonies Team), Small groups meet during the week. Weekly emails of encouragement are sent.


March 22 – Dinner or Luncheon STEP UP Banquet and possibly, fund raiser with entertainment and inspiration. (Banquet and Program Team) It is also Commitment Sunday. Follow up begins. (Commitment and Follow Up Team)


March 29Palm Sunday – We celebrate the results, worship the Lord, and plan for a High Attendance Day on Easter, April 5 & second BIG DAY April 12.


STEP UP TEAMS


Each team has its own goals, tasks, and dates. Each will be given a set of specific instructions.


  1. Staff and Existing Leadership – Develop a budget and set of goals for the campaign to be adopted by the church and lead the church to adopt a 2020 vision (Vision Statement, Mission Statement, Purpose Statements, Core Values, By Laws, and a 10-11 year Strategy Plan,)
  2. Visitation Team - 4 Teams to visit, pray with, and encourage each family in the church.
  3. Prayer and Small Groups Team – Organize, train, and equip groups to pray during STEP UP
  4. Themes Team (the only team that rhymes) – Design and decorate the church and help create a logo for the campaign.
  5. Materials Team– Help us get it all together, fold, stuff, address, copy, cut, sort.
  6. Testimonies Team – Bring people to the platform who can testify to God's faithfulness and the joy of participating in His work.
  7. Web Team – Develop and implement a website and email strategy for the campaign.
  8. Commitment and Follow-Up Team – Oversee this key part of the campaign process. Lead the church through the times of commitment and follow up process.
  9. Banquet and Program Team – Arrange a great culminating event with food, entertainment, and inspiration on or around Commitment Sunday.


People are excited and have started signing up for teams.


Which team (s) excites you enough to want to join and/or help lead it in its mission?


It will take God working through all of us and praying diligently to accomplish all God has in store.


We want to include our church partners in this process and in the teams leadership (Hmong Baptist Church and Iglesia Nueva Vida) to whatever extent they are willing.


ONE MORE THING – OUR BUDGET FOR THIS IS LOW.


Thursday, February 07, 2008