I AM WHAT I AM

I am what I am by Gods grace today
This is the way He made me and it never ceases to amaze me
That He loved me so much and made me as such that I am what I am Living today.

I was born in sin and I had no peace within
Guilty and dead but Jesus He cared
For He came and died for me setting me completely free
So that I am what I am living today

He`s cleansed me from sin and I have no guilt within
In Him I abide and in me He resides
I`m alive now with Him and I`ve got hope within
So I am what I am living today

A child of God am I and this the reason why
His Spirit dwells in me setting me completely free
Now I belong to God and God belongs to me
So I am what I am living today

I`m in Gods hand and He`s got for me a plan
A position in His Church A place for me to work
In service for the King so that I may worship Him
For I am what I am living today.

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COOK YOUR OWN MEAL

As a child our mother fed us and then helped us master the skill of using the spoon,knife and fork.By the time our son or daughter goes to university we expect they can not only fed themselves,more than just boil an egg and cook themselves a decent meal.New believers need spiritual fathers and mothers to teach,encourage and nuture in the faith with “milk to meat”.However Gods intention is that as we grow up we all learn to meditate and study the Word of God for ourselves.Cook our own meal.So often as believers we meet with the church for the Pastor/Teacher to feed us or travel from event to event to hear the latest “great teacher” or “anointed prophet”.Spoon fed,tickled and can become lazy.Don”t miss the enjoyment of cooking your own meal and feeding yourself.Spending time alone with God,hearing Him,searching the Scriptures and letting His Word dwell in you richly.

SOME GUIDELINES IN COOKING YOUR OWN MEAL.

1.A good starter.  Pray,ask God to give you wisdom,understanding and revelation.Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you and guide you into truth.To make the Bible alive and relevant to where you are at.

2.Good utensils and ingredients. Use a good version of the Bible eg. New King James Version and have other versions for comparsions and to expand on the meaning eg. NIV,RSV,New Living Translation,Amplfied Bible, and Message.Think of a Study Bible and a Bible Dictionary.On the internet check out – Bible Gateway,Blue Letter Bible or Crosswalks Bible Study Site.Don`t forget a note book.As you search,compare,meditate and listen to the Spirit enlighten,reflect and write.

3.Cooking methods.Study a book in the Bible going through chapter by chapter and verse by verse.Ask -To whom was it written? Why was it written? What is it saying? How does this relate to me today? Vary your methods of study.Do a word study tracing a particular word through the Bible eg. Grace,faith,fear,Glory,forgivenss,strength…Do a topicial study eg. The Kingdom of God,Fruit of the Spirit,Gifts of the Spirit,Covenants,Parables of Jesus… Study a Bible character eg Joseph,Joshua,David, Daniel,Hosea,Peter,Barnabas,Timothy…

4.A Balanced Diet.They say `too much of one thing is a bad thing`Naturally it`s important to have a balanced diet.There is the temptation for us to dwell on our favourite Bible doctrines or subjects.Don`t just read,study and meditate on eg Grace,Faith,Second Coming or whatever is `sweet to your taste`. Try something new and widen your understanding.Look at the whole counsel of God.Remember over emphasis on one truth can open up the risk of error.

Finally do not cook too much,eat and get bloated.How often have you after a feed said `i couldn`t eat like tha tevryday of the week`.Better small portions and more often. Whe studying Gods Word it is good sometimes to enjoy spending a lengthy time searching,comparing and meditating.However more beneficial would probably to spend shorter times but more often.Make a start and find out what is productive for you. Remember as you grow up learn to feed yourself and cook your own meal.

 

 

FOLLOW THE LIGHT WHEN YOU CANNOT SEE THE PATH

One evening travelling I noticed numerous Christmas lights lighting up a driveway from the gate to a dwelling out in the countryside.Without the lights the driveway would have been hidden in the dark.It reminded me of the lights on a runnway making the landing strip visible to the pilot of an incoming plane.God gave me the thought that in life when we are in the dark He is the Light that gives us direction and safe passage.When we don`t know how things are going to pan out,or which way to turn look to the Light.Don`t even try to figure out where the road is or to try and work everything out.Just follow Jesus the Light of the world.Fix your eyes on Him the Finisher or your faith.Love,worship and hear Him.Seek first God and He will take care of the rest.Trust Him.His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to your path.

COMMITTMENTS

A number of years ago I heard a preacher throw out the challenge and explained the value of writing down some personal ‘committments’.It is good to have goals and be committed to them.Aim for nothing and you certainly will achieve nothing.Writing down what you want to commit to helps you prioritise and focus what’s important in life.Re reading them helps to evaluate your progress and re align when necessary.

Here are a few I found I had written down.

1.To love God with everything I’ve got-all my heart,mind and soul.Cultivating my relationship with Him,getting to know Him,follow Him,worship Him and work with Him.

2.To love my wife just as Jesus Christ loves His Church.Being a good husband,cherishing her,deepening our relationship as best friends becoming one.

3.To be a good father loving my children,leading by example and with wisdom, always being available for them.

4.To fulfill the purpose for which I was born.To serve and use the gifts given by God to increase,build up and encourage the church-my family.

5.To be a witness of the Good News of Jesus Christ.To call all to believe in Him,follow and get to know Him.

6.To be a good steward of the household finances and as an employee to work with dilgence and excellence.

7.To write down the vision,wisdom and all I have learned from knowing God,sharing it with others.

 

 

 

 

 

CRITIC OR COACH?

A few years ago God spoke to me about entering a new season.I was soon to hit the big `50` but also sensed that following Jesus for over 40 years and serving in leading worship,youth and a home group a change in direction was coming.He challenged me that as you mature you have a choice to be either a critic or coach.As you get older both physically and spiritually the attitudes you form have an effect and impact on both yourself and others around you.
In the `middle age` sometimes you can become `set in your ways`,critical or judgemental of the next generation.Yes and be quick to offer correction or murmur in your heart-`that`s not the way it should be done` or `they should conduct themselves in such and such a manner`.I remember Rick Godwin saying you can either be a fireman or a coach.The fireman puts fires out.You can dampen the fire of passion in the next generation by continually criticising,making judgemental remarks or corrections.The coach however while at times corrects,gives advice and does so with the purpose of encouraging,building up and getting the best out of the player.
How often do you hear the football fans shouting critical abuse from the Stands at the failure of players.The Coach however at half time will yes challenge bad play,change tactics but also encourage and motivate with the objective to see the team go out and win.The challenge for those mature is to be a coach not a critic.To draw alongside others and encourage,motivate,build up,share wisdom,pray for and be available to support.A bit like a father son relationship.The father who loves his son will do all to bring out the best in his son and see him find and fulfil his own (that is the sons own) destiny.In the New Testament Paul had such a relationship with Timothy.He also told Titus to call on the older men and women to teach younger men and women.Similiarly the coach often once a player will take the wisdom they learned from both experiences-successes and mistakes passing it on to the player.
What are you? A critic or coach? Be a Barnabas-an encourager.He took Saul who became Paul in his early days in ministry when others were suspicious of him.Barnabas worked alongside him planting churches and teaching believers.Draw alongside others and encourage them to fulfil the works God has prepared for them.

HOW TO ADAPT TO CHANGE.

As we grow naturally our bodies change and we adapt.Similiarly as the Church,the Body of Christ grows,adjustments are made.There has to be flexibility and movememnt for expanding life.Small groups are no exception.Let`s lok at three areas where change can take place.

1.Stopping a group without feeling guilty.
As a group leader you may need to stop leadig a group due to work,family commitments or a change of direction.God may lead you into a different area of ministry.Our seasons may change and it`s important to understand what season you are in and what to do.Only lead a group if you are enjoying it and believe it is what you should be doing now.This is different than quitting a group because you are discouraged or offended.If so,you need to speak to God,a friend and the pastoral leadership.Brian Houston-`Encouragement is nourishment`.You may just need support and strength to continue to serve.However if you are entering a new season in your life,do not feel guilty stoping what you are doing now,if taking the next step in your journey is different.

2.Moving groups without offence.
Members of your group may leave and move on to another group.Don`t as a leader take offence.Sometimes people move because the night,time or location nolonger suits them as their circumstances have changed and they need to adjust.Friendships expand,people take on new interests or to progress in their walk with God some need to change groups.Do not take it personal.Remember the goal is to make disciples and encourage each to grow.It`s not about building people around you but pointing them towards Jesus.When some move from your group give them your blessing,encourage them in their next venture,keep in contact and always be available.

3.Have a health check.
There always is the danger a small group can get into a routine and fall into a rut.Continually doing the same thing,becoming tedious or stale.Our spiritual lives should not stand still and stagnate.Group members can lose interest and become apathetic.Stir or stagnate. How?
As a group leader it is good to take a spiritual health check.Get feedback from those who attend your group.This could involve a simple survey asking members to rate between 0-5 how much they benefited and enjoyed various aspects of group life eg. Worship,Teaching,Topics,Discussion,Fellowship,Outreach….
Sometimes it is good to take a break from curciculim and have a fun night or social event.
Make sure when choosing curriculim it`s` not just your pet topic,favourite Bible teacher/speaker nor just stick continually to the smae topic/speaker.Remember the purpose is to widen your vision and expand your knowledge of God taking the next steps in your journey with Him together.
Have an end goal,like do an outreach together,go on a weekend or have a day trip.

WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES AND ROLE OF A SMALL GROUP LEADER?

Small group leaders are not perfect.Like all believers they have weaknesses,make mistakes and wrong decisions but know and experience Gods grace.Leaders pursue excellence,intimacy with God and grow in their relationship with Jesus being changed to be more like Him.
QUALILITIES OF A GOOD LEADER.
1.AUTHENTIC.Be real.Just be yourself recognising you have unique gifts.Don`t perform or try to be someone you are not.Be sincere and transparent in your walk with God.
2.SERVANT HEART.Having an unselfish love for others expecting nothing in return and going the extra mile.Not looking to your own interests but others. PHIL.2:3,4.
3.SPIRIT FILLED.Just as an electric appliance without power is ineffective so too gifted leaders without the power of the Holy Spirit.Those who serve in the Early Church were full of the Holy Spirit.ACTS2:4 ; 4:8 ; 6:3,5.Draw strength,wisdom and power from the life of the Spirit.
4.TRUSTWORTHY.Good leaders provide a safe and honest environment for sharing.Keep a confidence and don1t gossip.Show respect and faithfulness to group members and leadership.
5.HONOUR LEADERS.Before leaders can lead they must have been led.Learned to be followers.The disciples where disciples of Jesus before they went on to make disciples of the nations.Good small group leaders honour,respect and love their local church leadership united with the local vision.
6.TEACHABLE.Leaders are god listeners and lean from others.They spend time gaining wisdom through study and the Holy Spirit.Never having a `know it all` or `having arrived` attitude.
7.SACRIFICAL.Have a commitment to give time for group meeting,preparation and prayer.Energised by a passion to serve God and others.
8.CELEBRATE.Enjoy leading.Celebrate God,His goodness and what He is doing in your group.Don`t be too busy,burdened with problems and have no joy.If you do not enjoy leading you will not lead well.Rest,relax and learn to laugh.
THE ROLE OF A SMALL GROUP LEADER.
1.Invit and meet people you think would connect to the group.Follow up on new and absent members.Leaders grow their own groups.
2.Implement the teaching series as set by your local `eldership`/leadership.If left to you as a group leader select a teaching curriculum that will take your group members on the next steps of their journey with God.Pray and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in choosing.
3.Pray and prepare for small group meeting ahead of time.
4.Pray regularly for your group members by name.Remember you burn out if you believe you are responsible for people transforming and growing.God does the work.
5.Be attentive to the needs of your group.Let God use your eyes and ears.Have discernment.
6.Pastoral Care-if sick,bereaved….inform local Pastoral leadership.As a group rally around members facing difficult circumstances.
7.Encourage group members to move one step at a time in their journey with God.Take a genuine interest in their progress.
8.Ask your group for feedback.Find out what they enjoyed of disliked and why?
9.Arrange social activities and fun.Celebrate for example birthdays and special occasions.
10.Look for and develop a co-leader to assist.Consult local leadership.This is particular beneficial if you are sick,an emergency arises and you are unavailable.Rather than cancel or change a group night it is good to be able to bring in the co leader.It`s important to develop a consistentrhythm of when you hold your group avoiding confusion.Don`t always host group at your home.

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