Friday, June 17, 2011

Life Principles Study Series "Practicing Basic Spiritual Disciplines" Lesson 3

Lesson 3 from:

Life Principles Study Series “Practicing Basic Spiritual Disciplines” by Charles F. Stanley. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson), 2009.

This lesson is on conformity to Christ and setting some spiritual goals for our advancement in the faith. Dr. Stanley uses Romans 8:28-30 as a spring board for understanding the conformity process in our Christian lives. First, we are destined and chosen to be conformed as the Lord changes us and transforms us into His image as His work from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18). None of us are perfect; we all have scars and need healing in some area from Him. Secondly, being conformed in Christ’s image means a process of learning to think, speak, and act just as Jesus would in any life situation. This is a continual progression that will not be complete until with are glorified with Him in Heaven as we “put off” the old and “put on” the new spiritual man. Thirdly, it is the Holy Spirit who radically changes us and not we ourselves outside of the human volition of faith and obedience. For this section please read the later part of Romans 7:14-25, which is a flesh driven existence, compared to the Spirit’s work in believers in Romans 8:14-30.

We will look at our ultimate purpose in life as we pursue Christ and conform to Him, not the world (Rom. 12:2). Be sure to come up with specific examples of how we sometimes conform ourselves to this world. Understand what the mind of Christ entails, even the aspects of suffering that Dr. Stanley shares with us. “…he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin…” (1 Pet. 4:1). The most fertile time of spiritual growth for a majority of Christians comes during a time of crisis, illness, persecution, loss, pain, or rejection. Don’t shy away from life’s difficulties; embrace them as opportunities to grow in Christ.

We will start our class with a time of testimony from any of you who feel led to share. This week should have seen us making a conscious effort to be more and more obedient to the Lord’s leading in our lives. Give our class some examples of how that played out in your world this past week.

Blessings in Jesus Christ!

Friday, June 10, 2011

S.O.S. and Homefront Weekly

I have a couple of important things I want to share with you today. One concerns our S.O.S. (Summer of Service for Souls) plans for children. The other concerns your family devotional, Homefront Weekly, which is attached to this e-mail for your edification and can be picked up each Sunday at the table by the place where you pick-up your children from Kid's Worship.
*First, I want to inform you of some important ministry opportunities our children and us have coming up this summer with S.O.S.. The Lord has opened a door of opportunity for us to minister to the children and residents of the Enclave Apartments (7201 Old Decatur Road Fort Worth, TX 76179). We are planning an evangelistic/discipleship ministry there on the grounds with these beloved children of God, which will begin June 29th at our church. That week, I will be on vacation, but Kay Sutton has graciously stepped forward to do some training with our children (grades 1-5) so that they will be prepared for the ministry opportunity that awaits them on the dates of July 6, 20, 27, and August 10. We are excited about this chance to share our witness and love of Christ with many who are unchurched and some who have never heard the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.
-This is how the four nights of ministry will work:
+Children will meet at the church at 6:30pm to take the bus to the Enclave Apartments, which is about 2 1/2 miles straight south of the church.
+We will do church at the apartments with our children, the children of the apartment complex, and possibly their parents/guardians who desire to come join us in the commons area behind the office complex by the playground. We will have activities, games, and crafts along with some serious time of soul searching within the children themselves as they ask spiritual questions that are on their precious hearts. We will have designed topics to facilitate discussion and the adult leaders from our church will provide biblical answers to meet the spiritual needs of the kids. These little ones have many questions about the world and their Creator. It is the responsibility of us as God's people to share with them the truth from the Word of God so that they might have a chance to believe in the Lord and turn from their sinful nature to God's eternal life, hopefully gaining understanding as to what God's will is for them in their lives. We are penetrating the darkness with God's light!
+Our children will return to the church by 8:30pm for pick-up by you, the parents, who will be returning from your own S.O.S. mission wherever that may be.
+This ministry is only for grades 1-5, both boys and girls. All children will need to have a medical release form on file with the church to participate in this outreach.
+The nursery and preschool children will be having their normal Wednesday night activities with loving teachers who are pouring their lives into these lovable darlings. The only difference would be the extended time from 6:45pm to 8:30pm because of S.O.S. activities.
*Secondly, I hope you are doing these fascinating family devotions with your children that come with TruStory Kid's Worship called Homefront Weekly. If you have preschoolers, you are doing the activities associated with Elevate, Jr. These are, what I think, wonderful discipleship tools to get your children thinking about the Lord outside of church and preparing them for a Sunday of worship to our Heavenly King. There are insightful analysis and a concentrated effort to connect them with the Bible given in these devotionals and they have the potential to give some structure to a daily or weekly quiet time with your whole family. This Sunday at the check-in podium at the front lobby of the church and by the youth room in the fellowship hall where you pick-up for Kid's Worship, there will be some flyers with a free app opportunity with your I-phones and Androids. It is called Homefront Monthly (search keyword: Tru Home). This publication gives even more ideas for helping in the spiritual development of your children, which are your gift and heritage from God (Psalm 127:3). I hope you will check this app out and begin to see spiritual results from it. Another great thing we have found in our family is This is a website and app that narrates the Bible word for word and is a great tool for doing nightly devotions before your kids go to bed in the evenings. It is a fun way to listen to the Word of God as a family before prayer and saying good night.
+I'm going to be checking with our children in Kid's Worship to see how many of you are doing family devotions and getting ready for Sunday worship. This is your warning, hint, hint . Let's work together to train up our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). The dividends in the future are amazing!
+Pray for your children constantly and be sensitive to their spiritual condition. Help them inquire about the things of God and seek God's Word together. God has made us, the parent/guardian, as the lead disciplers of our children and He holds us accountable for how we do that (Ephesians 6:4)
If you ever have any questions or need help, you know that I'm always here and available for consultation. May the Lord be with you by His mercy.
Have a great weekend! See you Sunday!