To discover the traits of an effective church

You can’t judge a book by its cover, that’s a phrase we’ve all heard before.
It simply means you can’t evaluate people by externals, clothes, appearance, or size.
What’s true of people is also true of churches, you can’t tell the effectiveness of a church by its building. The small church building on the corner with the peeling paint and cardboard taped over broken windows may house a group of vibrant Christians who are making a real difference in their community. And down the street could be a large, ornate church that feels like a mortuary inside.
To discover the traits of an effective church, we have to examine what’s on the inside. Fortunately, Jesus Himself shows us what to look for.

To be a church that makes a difference takes commitment to orthodoxy, fearless faith in the face of opposition, advancing into the cutting edge of a lost world, passion and vision for the future, and faithfulness to go through the doors that Jesus opens.

Jesus doesn’t look at the size or location of a church. He looks at the mind and the heart.

So if you think your church is to small to make a difference, think again.

Right Attitude

We often just do not have the right attitude toward adversity. We think it is from God when it is not. We think it’s from the Devil when it’s not; we resist it when we need to accept it; we accept it when we need to resist it. Sometimes we blame others when it’s the consequence of our own choices. We need to take more responsibility for the consequences of our choices instead of playing a victim role and feeling persecuted.

Rather than being times that seem to threaten our faith, or reveal our lack of faith, shouldn’t we look at these times of adversity as the very times that most invite us to deepen our faith in God? And to endure in faith with much profit to ourselves and others? Shouldn’t we learn to let adversity drive us into the loving arms of our strong Father to depend upon Him and His goodness?

We all face adversity

We all have adversity in our lives. Besides natural disasters, there are many other ways that we experience adversity. Marital breakdowns, parents facing teenage rebellion, financial hardship, crime, sickness, disease, accidents, problems with neighbors, friends, bosses, coworkers, city governments, and on and on. Sometimes the world seems like it spawns an endless amount of adversity. On top of that, being a Christian believer in an unbelieving world only increases the level of adversity that we experience. As it is written, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Tim. 3:12).

When it comes to dealing with a adversity, we all tend to have a default way to deal with it, get angry, get shut down and depressed, feel overwhelmed, etc. But to deal effectively with adversity we need to have a range of responses depending upon the source and nature of the adversity . When we are under spiritual attack, for example, the appropriate response is to become aggressive in prayer and to take authority over the spiritual wickedness sent against us. When we are dealing with the kind of adversity that results from our choices and commitments, then we learn to take it in stride and not become reactive at all. We just accept it as the predictable effect of our choices.

Adversity is a state of hardship or affliction, misfortune. Hardship is privation or a lack of the basic necessities of life. Much of what we in more prosperous countries run into is hardly worthy to be called adversity.
Inconveniences, problems, and predicaments all represent temptations. Temptation is not sin, but it is an invitation to sin. It is also an invitation to have faith. Adversity tempts us to doubt God’s provision and protection, and presents us with an opportunity to sin. It therefore serves us by letting us see what is in our hearts. To tempt is literally to pierce. So in a sense to be tempted is to be cut open so that what is inside is revealed. Sometimes we do not know how strong we are until we are tested. Other times we fail the test and wimp out. In either case, adversity helps us to see what we are made of, and when we do not like what we see, to have the opportunity to shore up our faith and character so that we will not break there again. It is said that the place where metal is welded together after a break is stronger than the original metal. If it breaks again, it will not be on the weld.

God is like a plumber who will test pipe joints by gradually raising the water pressure and seeing where the leaks are before turning the pressure on all the way. God works that way with us as well, to bring us along in the faith so we can handle more and more responsibility and spiritual pressure

Remember Always Trust in God

Trust is also essential in our lives as we walk with the Lord. Without it, we’d be like a car without wheels going nowhere in life. If God gives us a command, He assumes the responsibility for providing the means for us to do it. If we always insist on having all our questions answered before we move forward, we never will. We can count on the Lord to provide whatever we need to accomplish His will. Whether it’s resources, finances, or specific directions about what to do next, all we need to do is ask God and wait for Him to provide in His time.

To live a godly life, we must listen to God by reading His Word and trusting what He says. Then we step out in obedience, knowing that He has all knowledge and all power in every circumstance in life. Nothing is beyond Him. Furthermore, blessings follow obedience. Because Noah listened, trusted, and obeyed God, one family was saved from the flood, and a new civilization was started.

What obstacles cause you to waver in your trust in God? Is it the opinions of others? Are you afraid circumstances won’t work out as you desire?

Changing Times

The world is changing so fast, we don’t even realize it.

Our culture has a way of convincing us that we won’t be happy unless we have the latest gadget, experience, relationship or even our next new car. Always bigger and better, right?

But as believers, our happiness is not dependent on what is happening, it’s dependent on our relationship with God. The Bible says, Happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Psalm 144:15.      

Isn’t true? Happiness is a byproduct of holiness.

Not only does God give us abundant reasons to be happy, but He actually commands us to rejoice in the Lord always.                                                                                                                                                     (Philippians 4:4).

Can you think of someone who could use help in experiencing the happiness that the Bible offers?

Trust In God

Sometimes we hear but we don’t see. Have you ever done that. Or how is this, we only see what we what to see and hear what we what to hear.

We’re living in a crazy world. And in some ways, it’s a hopeless world. There’s a sense of hopelessness pervading many young people today. In fact, I’ve read that suicide is up among ten to fourteen-year-old children. They give hopelessness as the reason, and it’s all around us.

The Bible tells a story about two men who were at the end of their ropes. They felt that Jesus let them down. They felt, honestly, that Jesus failed in His mission. Even though Jesus constantly spoke about the fact that he would die on a cross, it still came as a shock to them. He didn’t come to wear a crown of gold; He came to wear a crown of thorns. He didn’t come to sit on a regal throne; He came to die on a wooden cross.

Jesus talked about it. He said it again and again. But somehow they collectively missed the memo.

They didn’t want to think about the horrible events that happened, so they decided to get out of town. And who joined them on the road? It was none other than Jesus himself. Then He took them on a personally guided tour of the Old Testament, showing them all the passages pointing to the coming Messiah.

Sometimes we hear but we don’t see. Have you ever done that. Or how is this, we only see what we what to see and hear what we what to hear.

Maybe you’ve lost hope today. Maybe you’ve had a tragedy come your way that has rocked your world in some way. Jesus can restore your hope. Time to put your trust in what He can do instead of what you can do. God is always with us, but it’s us that is not always with God.

Being disconnected from Christ

Many times when we listen to someone’s preaching, we cannot sense the flavor of Christ in him. This is because he is disconnected from Christ, and in his living there is a barrier between him and Christ. He has not yet dealt with certain matters before God, and his spirit has lost contact with Christ. Thus, he speaks using merely his mind, memory, and thoughts. We sense his eloquence, but we cannot sense the Lord’s presence with him, neither can we touch spiritual reality. He has lost his fellowship with Christ, and his preaching is merely doctrinal, without the Spirit. This kind of preaching is not spiritual because it is void of Christ. Whatever we do in our service should have Christ and should be Christ.

In Christ

Only when we are in union with Christ will what we do be something that Christ does through us, and only this has spiritual value to God. All that we do out of ourselves, with ourselves, and by ourselves can gain the praises of man but not the acceptance of God. God accepts only Christ. If you and I are not in Christ, we will not be acceptable to God. Not only will our sins be unacceptable to God, but even the good things we do by ourselves will not be accepted by Him. God accepts only that which is of Christ and has Christ as its basic element and content. Only these things have spiritual value and are counted by God.

However, there is a spiritual question here.

Please bear in mind that there is an absolute difference between spiritual service and secular work. We do not need to touch Christ to engage in secular matters, but we must contact Him for the service of the church. We need to contact Christ when we clean the windows. We need to contact Christ when we minister the word. We need to contact Christ when we pray. In whatever we do, we need to contact Christ within. All that we do, pray, and speak should come out of our inward union and contact with Christ. Then when people contact us, they will sense that we are filled with Christ. In this way Christ will pass through us and come out of us. Then when we go to visit the believers, preach the gospel, or lead people to salvation, Christ as the electricity will flow out from us into them.

Who was He

We Christians are notorious for answering the wrong questions,  questions no one is asking. And when we do answer the right questions, we often do it in a way that doesn’t connect. We either fail to identify with people’s struggles or fail to answer in terms they understand. Christians need to take time to answer a few of the more significant biblical questions people have. And many of those questions have to do with the identity of Jesus. Who is He? Why did He come? What did He teach? How can I connect with Him? I’m sure these are the same questions asked centuries ago by people who lived when Jesus did.

Many people in today times still have the same question. Who is this Jesus? If you look at Matthew’s account of the triumphal entry the Bible gives answers to this most crucial question.

Jesus is a courageous Man. It took inner strength to enter the hostile city, to stand alone, and to clean up the temple.
Jesus is a humble King. He didn’t demand royal treatment, and He took time to meet people’s needs for healing.

Jesus is a patient Lord. He willingly waited for His crown and accepted the insults and misunderstandings of the chief priests and scribes.
Jesus is the sinner’s Savior.
Even though many of the bystanders didn’t know the fullness of Jesus’s identity, they cried out, “Hosanna!” which means, “Save us.

What questions do you have? Don’t let the time pass you by. Leave us a comment and we do our very best to give you the answers you need.

Self pity is bottomless pit.

Once you fall in, you tend to go deeper and deeper into the mire. As you slide down those slippery walls, you are well on your way to depression, and the darkness is profound. Your only hope is to look up and see the Light of the Lord’s Presence shining down on you.

Though the Light looks dim from your perspective, deep in the pit, those rays of hope can reach you at any depth. While you focus on the Lord in trust, you rise ever so slowly out of the abyss of despair. Finally, you can reach up and grasp his hand. He will pull you out into the Light again. He will gently cleanse you, washing off the clinging mire. He will cover you with His righteousness and walk with you down the path of Life.

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