Wednesday, September 22, 2010
And over the last 12 months, I have really appreciated how willingly a majority of people in our congregation are prepared to serve others both in the church and in the wider community through the various opportunities that exist through our congregation.
A congregation our size needs a system in place to help us co-ordinate our service.
One way we aim to help people discover and take advantage of the opportunities that exist through our congregation is through the Talents and Gifts survey which we distributed last week. This is a very helpful way for us to quickly capture where you are interested in serving with others and where we need to encourage others to fulfil the various roles in our congregation. Serving in our congregation is not simply putting your hand up to fill a position, rather as Christians our service should take on an evangelistic emphasis. This occurs when:
• We ask the question, ‘how can I make what I do and say help others know more about Jesus?’
• Our attitude for serving is to glorify God and encourage others to develop a relationship with God and other Christians. Put this in contrast to someone who serves because they want others to see how good they are, they wish to exert some power or they want something for themselves or things done their way.
• We recognise that we are part of a team, and that we contribute to the direction that the congregation needs to move and has agreed to move.
• We consider how best we can help others to hear and experience God’s Good News, even if this differs to what helps us.
• We serve because others need it, not because we have the desire, all the skills, all the wisdom or all the talent, instead relying on God’s strength and seek his guidance and training as we serve.
Please keep exploring how you can be evangelistic in everything you do, because as we do we will change the lives of the people in our congregation and in the wider community, because God is working through us.
PS. If you haven’t already done so please get your Gifts and Talents Surveys in this week as our nominations team and team leaders will use these surveys to help them in their roles in co-ordinating service in our congregation.
As a result some have commented we haven’t see this person or that person for years. Others have questioned, why is such and such in the directory? Such responses to directories are not uncommon, especially if we see the directory as an exclusive listing of select few, and we want to‘tidy up’ the list quickly.
However there are other ways to view the directory, that may help us be more mission orientated.
Think about the directory as not just a listing of members or those who we have a very close relationship. Consider it as a listing of people who have connected to God’s family through us at some stage. They maybe still connected to God’s family or they may be a lot further away now
and need some encouragement.
If you find yourself asking the question why is such and such people in the directory? Maybe that question is God prompting you, saying hey these people haven’t been around for some time…but rather than forgetting about them maybe God is also saying, ‘How about you contact them?’
When you see the name of someone who you haven't seen around for awhile maybe God is prompting you to make some contact with that person or family, to see how they are going, to encourage them, to invite them around for a chat, to even invite them to church or a small group.
As you read through the directory you may notice that some of the people have moved, are worshipping elsewhere, changed phone numbers or their relationship has changed. One of our responsibilities is to care for each other, so please let the office know if you are aware of any
changes, not only in your own family but also other families so Pastor Richard and the Pastoral Assistants can follow them up, our records updated and we can provide the care God calls us to provide.
As you look through the directory, pray for people you see in the directory, give them a call and encourage them.
Remember our church directory can be a valuable tool to sharing God’s love, caring for each other and helping us engage with each other spiritually and physically.
Evangelism Reflection: Evangelism is about God's kingdom is not just some future dream but that God's kingdom is here with us now!!!
Other parts of scripture encourage us to think of God’s kingdom not just as some place, but a new reality, a Godly way to live.
Throughout His life Jesus spoke about and showed us how to live as part of God’s kingdom. This involved living a life that is built on developing and encouraging relationships, that is the basis of the Greatest commandment, our life is about loving God and loving others. This influences how we see our work, hobbies, family and everything else we are involved in. A good question to ask is how can I do what I do and live how I live, in ways that love God and love others. Take some time this week to think about this, jot down some of your thoughts and then think about how you can put these things into action. When God is guiding us we are beginning to live in His kingdom.
In Luke we discover some other thoughts about living in God’s kingdom:
• Small good deeds make a difference (Luke 13:18-21)
• The marginalised and forgotten are honoured and respected (Luke 14:15-24)
• God can always find even the person who we believe is so lost (Luke 15:3-10)
• Everyone including little ones God welcomes into His kingdom (Luke 18:15-17)
• God’s works through many people to transform the world (Luke 10:1-20)
• When we open up our lives there is more than enough to go around (Luke 9:10-17)
Living in God’s kingdom is a call that we see God active through what we do and when other’s serve us. Our work, leisure, family and social lives are all opportunities for us to not only see God’s kingdom, but to be participants in His kingdom. And when this is happening people are getting a small insight into what heaven will be like.
Think about how your work, social, family and leisure life can reflect a focus of you loving God and you loving others.
What changes do you need to begin making so your life is about being part of God’s kingdom and others see God at work in your life?
Thank everyone who serves you and thank God for their service.
In Acts 1:8 we read:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
God prepares you to be His witness from the very moment you were baptised, when He promised you His Holy Spirit, and He continues to fill you with His Spirit every time you read His word and when you ask for His Spirit in your prayers. It is God’s Spirit that empowers us to be His witnesses to people in four different situations.
- People in your vicinity of the same cultural background (Jerusalem).
- People further away from you of the same cultural background. (Judea)
- People near you from a different cultural background. (Samaria)
- People far from you of a different cultural background. (ends of the Earth)
1. Right down people that come to mind from each of the four areas.
2. Pray about them and that God reveals to you how you can reach out to them.
3. Use God’s Spirit to reach out to them and be His witness to them.
4. Continue to pray and witness to them.
Visit the following web sites to gain further information
One of the great things is that encourages people to invite others, especially the lapsed to church.
Billabong Worship Resources
Online Advent Calendar: 25 things to do leading up to Christmas
Family Activities, Car Chat, Blessing of an Advent Wreath, Blessing of a Christmas Tree, Christian Christmas Coloring Pictures, Printable Advent Chain, Advent Lesson Plan, Advent Wreath File Folder Game, Advent Wreath Game Board, Advent Wreath Cards Younger, Advent Wreath Coloring Sheet, Advent Wreath Directions, Advent Wreath Directions Younger, Advent Wreath Question Cards, Jesse Tree, Make Your Own Nativity, Advent True or False Game and more
Advent ideas for Youth
5 Great ideas for Advent
Emerging Church Advent ideas from Jonny Baker
Textweek: Church Year site
Lift up your hearts worship resources
Ignatian Spirituality Advent Resources
Advent Boxes: Ringwood-Knox Lutheran parish
Christmas in cyberspace
Lutheran Hour Ministries: Online Devotions
Church Year Advent Resources
Richard Fairchild: KirShalom Advent Resources
Worship Well Advent Resources
Please feel free to share your Advent resources to me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
is both a book and website
Lutheranism 101 examines Lutheran beliefs and heritage in a fresh way. If you are a lifelong Lutheran searching for more information or new to Lutheranism looking to understand what we believe, this book will be your guide. It is written in an easy-to-read conversational style with short articles, side-bar features, and some humor. Lutheranism 101 helps create a solid foundation of reference upon which a lifetime of sound teaching can be built.
Explore the basics of Lutheran theology by digging into the history of Lutheranism and making connections between what Lutherans believe and what Lutherans do.
What you'll learn about:
•God and His Son
•Faith and Belief
•Heaven and Hell
•Church and Fellowship
•Sin and Forgiveness
•and much more!
Lutheranism 101 is designed to give you a quick, usable, and comprehensive overview of Lutheran faith and practice. While we have tried not to grind any axes, we would be less than living, breathing human beings if we told you that what you have here is totally impartial and neutral. First, we must acknowledge that we are writing about Lutheranism from an American perspective. So in discussions of customs, history, and missions, Lutherans in other parts of the world (and there are many!) will have a different perspective. We are also writing from within a tradition in the Lutheran Church that is identified as orthodox and confessional. The term orthodox simply means correct or right belief. The term confessional has come to mean different things to different people, but at its heart these two terms signify those who model what they believe, teach, and confess on God’s Word and the historic teachings (Confessions) of the Lutheran Church as they are contained in the Book of Concord. Finally, we have to acknowledge that Lutheranism 101 does not cover the entire length and breadth of our subject. However, it is a good place to start your exploration of Lutheran belief and practice.
The goal of Lutheran Music is to provide God-pleasing worship resources for musicians, pastors, teachers, families and congregations. We offer sheet music, concordances, lyrics files (text, PowerPoint), sound files (midi, MP3), flash videos, audio CDs and video DVDs as supplements to the commonly-used Lutheran hymnals.
Christian Worship [CW] - Northwestern Publishing House, 1993 (WELS)
Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary [ELH] - MorningStar Music, 1996 (ELS)
Evangelical Lutheran Worship [ELW] - Augsburg Fortress, 2006 (ELCA)
Lutheran Book of Worship [LBW] - Augsburg Publishing House, 1978 (ELCA)
Lutheran Service Book [LSB] - Concordia Publishing House, 2006 (LCMS)
Lutheran Worship [LW] - Concordia Publishing House, 1982 (LCMS)
The Lutheran Hymnal [TLH] - Concordia Publishing, 1941
Over 5900 illustrations
Sermon Illustration Library
The Sermon Illustration Library is a community-driven library that organizes illustrations by a label system. Many times, a particular illustration is applicable to more than one topic. Not only that, but one person might think of an illustration as relating to one topic, while someone else might have an entirely different take on it.
Elbourne illustration data base
Howard Vanderwell, Resource Development Specialist for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, says people come looking for two things in worship: stability and freshness. People need stability in worship so that every week there are things that are familiar. And yet people also need freshness, so that everything is not always the same week after week.
Most traditional churches do a good job with stability. What we need help with is freshness. How to do you say things in a little different way or use art or drama or video to bring God’s story alive? How do you find those resources?
The Fresh Worship blog is a place to come for those resources. It’s a place to ask questions, to jog your imagination, and to share what has worked for you.
Some recent entries include:
■How I Design a Creative Worship Service
■Creative Worship Ideas: The Lord’s Prayer
■Why I Need the Resurrection
■Creative Worship Ideas: Good Friday
■Planning Ahead for Lent, Palm Sunday, and Easter
■Creative Worship Ideas: Ash Wednesday
■Using a Song as the Focus of Worship
■Advent Prayer Stations
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Based on the much-loved hymn, "God Loves Me Dearly," this service helps children share God's love for us through readings and songs.
Four parts of the God's Love at Christmas theme are developed through the program:
- God Loved Me by Making a Promise
- God Loved Me by Sending Jesus
- God Loved Me by Dying and Rising for Me
- God Loves Me by Giving Me Life Forever
The program is built around the familiar account of the Christmas story found in Luke, and features brand new recordings of favorite hymns such as "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "Away in a Manger," "Angels We Have Heard on High," and others.
The complete planning CD-ROM contains two Christmas programs, one for Preschool through 8th grade, and another especially for Early Childhood.
The CD contains the following items:
1. Rehearsal recordings of hymns, songs and liturgy
2. Children's Worship Service Director Guide
3. Teacher copy of Children's Morning Worship Service
4. Teacher copy of Children's Evening Worship Service
5. Congregation copy of Children's Morning Worship Service
6. Congregation copy of Children's Evening Worship Service
7. Early Childhood Program Director Guide
8. Teacher copy of Early Childhood Program
9. Audience copy of Early Childhood Program
10. Individual reading scripts for Worship Service and Early Childhood Program
11. Clip art patterns
12. Song lyrics
13. Music texts and scores for children's songs
Visit: http://www.cph.org/p-17373-gods-love-at-christmas-childrens-christmas-program-cd.aspx to preview and to find out more information
a. Color Theme Poster
b. Bulletin Insert-Devotional
c. Children's Story Page
d. Giving Plan Card
e. Sample: Time and Abilities Sheet
Go to http://solapublishing.blogspot.com/p/stewardship.html for more information
Through deeper study of each book in the Bible, we see the big picture of Scripture from creation through the redemption of Jesus Christ. If you crave more intentional, comprehensive study of all of the Bible, you will appreciate Life by His Word. Whether you are new to the church, a life-long member, part of a small group, or studying on your own, the studies included will connect you with the full story of God’s work in your life and lead you to see His promises anew.
What does Life by His word provide for you?
A comprehensive study of God’s Word.
Lessons are drawn from The Lutheran Study Bible and enhance the faith life of your church family. Connection to the timeless conversation that has been unfolding within and around God’s Word throughout the centuries.
What is it?
This Bible study on CD-ROM covers every book and chapter of the Bible. With more than 1,500 individual study lessons [that's less than 20 cents for each lesson], this Bible study provides discussion questions, application, and summary insights for The Lutheran Study Bible. Every chapter and every book are explored, offering a rich and full approach to study and devotion. One-page lessons are ideal for group study, adaptable for time and by age group.
The CD-ROM includes teaching materials and student materials in two formats: PDF to print directly and RFT for customization.
“With Life by His Word, the pastor has a Bible study for any hot topic that comes up in the news,“ says Rev. Edward Engelbrecht, general editor of The Lutheran Study Bible. “Just think about the chapter of Scripture that addresses the topic, find the chapter study in Life by His Word, and you’re good to go.”
A program that allows you to build and customise confirmation for your local congregation.
Confirmation Builder is a collection of resources for confirmation instructors that provides a framework for presenting students the basics of Christian doctrine.
Each of the 33 customizable lessons uses the Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism as the main texts, and includes background reading, devotional information, PowerPoint® presentations, discussion questions and activities that can be used as a basic curriculum, or to supplement your current course. Assessment tools are also included.
Confirmation Builder is a dynamic resource that will have additional resources added as they become available.Confirmation Builder is offered as an annual subscription. Pricing is based upon your congregation’s average weekly worship attendance.
Visit www.confirmationbuilder.com to discover how it works, pricing and the resources available
In our current climate some of this written material is very helpful, some not so helpful.
Recently when I considered this I realised that the material I am finding more helpful in engaging others is material that have clear references to scripture, and the material I am often questioning or is not so helpful in engaging with others is where there are few scripture references or the references aren't that clear or well explained.
Put simply church material without clear scripture references is seen as nothing more than personal opinion by others for a particular place and time.
And as a church that says we live by God's Word surely, what we say should be supported by God's Word.....
A Lutheran Theology of Evangelism, Some Theses (Hope Lutheran Church Aurora CO)
It a common misconception that "Lutherans don't do Evangelism". This is not true. What is true is that when Lutheran go about the business of evangelism, they often abandon their Lutheran doctrine. These theses are an attempt to begin with our Lutheran theology and paint a picture of what Evangelism is and is not. Your feed back is welcome. -Pastor Wolfmueller
- The Scriptures rightly understood give all glory to God and all comfort to terrified consciences. False doctrine does the opposite, either taking glory from God or comfort from the conscience, or both.
- Natural man is blind, dead, and an enemy of God (Anthropology, Original Sin), and therefore cannot cooperate with God in conversion. It must be stated plainly that the will of man plays no part in conversion. Therefore all attempts to induce an emotional response for God (and other such revival shenanigans) will be carefully avoided. Never would an unbeliever be told that he must “accept Jesus” or “receive Him” or “open his heart” or “pray a prayer.” Such things are impossible. Any discussion of evangelism that speaks or implies man's cooperation takes glory from God and robs consciences of comfort.
- Morover, A natural man is hostile to God (Original Sin again). Therefore the Lutheran church expects persecution of the Lord's Word and His people.
- God alone redeems, justifies and converts sinful man (Monergism). Because conversion is God's work, we should pay attention to how He does it (rather than making stuff up).
- The Holy Spirit creates faith (Sanctification in the broad sense, the Third Article of the Creed). The Lutheran Church therefore lives in the confidence of faith, knowing that the coming of the Lord's kingdom depends not on her own efforts, but on the free work of the Holy Spirit. The evangelism efforts of the Lord's church begin with prayer to God who desires all to be saved, and trusts that He hears and answers this prayer.
- And more, the Holy Spirit creates faith “when and where it pleases Him”, not when it pleases us. This means, among other things, that it is impossible to judge mission faithfulness through numbers.
- The Holy Spirit uses means to convert man (what we often call “the means of grace”, but what our confessions call “the means of the Spirit”). The means of the Spirit is the word of God, through which He shows our sin (Law) and promises forgiveness (Gospel). There are no other means of the Spirit, there are therefore no other means of evangelism.
- Correspondingly, repentance embraces two parts: contrition and faith. Both contrition and faith are the works of the Holy Spirit, meaning that man is passive in this work of the Holy Spirit. (“Repent” is a command kept only by the work of the Holy Spirit.) The distinction between law and Gospel is at the heart of everything the church does, says, etc. We can judge mission faithfulness on the Gospel rightly preached and the sacrament rightly administered. Any wrongly divided law and Gospel is not properly the work of Evangelism.
- Furthermore, the proper distinction between law and Gospel is a personal and individual distinction. As Luther taught us, the Law is for the proud and puffed-up, the Gospel for the despairing. This means that evangelism cannot be programmatic or scripted, but that the conversation between the church and the unbeliever will include listening and an attempt to discern the condition of the person to apply the proper word of God at the proper time.
- Even furthermore, this means that “Evangelism Training” will be nothing more than continued study and meditation on the proper distinction between law and Gospel.
- The Word of God, being the means of the Holy Spirit in creating faith in the heart of sinful man, is effective. It is a false and dangerous tendency to treat the Word of God as mere information that only has benefit when accepted and acted upon (as is the case with American Evangelicalism). The Gospel is the authoritative declaration of sins forgiven (Absolution). In fact, the central act of Evangelism is not asking the unbeliever to come to Jesus, but rather, in the name of Jesus, forgiving their sins. Evangelism is the Church speaking the Absolution to the World.
- Through the Sacraments, as through the Word, the Holy Spirit creates and sustains faith. The Lutheran Church therefore recognizes the central role of baptism in the evangelism of the world. It is impossible to talk about evangelism Biblically without speaking about the Lord's gift of baptism.
- The means of grace are resistible. Therefore the Church expects rejection. Furthermore, the Lutheran church resists the temptation to look for “more efficient means” of evangelism, as if we could find something less resistible than the divinely appointed means.
- A Christian is still a sinner in need of the Lord's mercy. Therefore the church, knowing her own sin and the superabundant grace of God, gladly welcomes sinners into her midst to hear of the Lord's love and mercy. A church/congregation without this hospitality has lost her first love.
offers a range of information including
Locations mentioned in the Bible....mapped using Google maps
A Bible atlas including photos
over 10000 photos of places referred to in the bible
Topical Bible search
Real Time Bible search; what people are saying about whats in the bible on Twitter and Facebook
LAB: Book Browser, Word Locators, Flicr photo links, Bible Sentence paths, popularity of various bible versions based on internet use, personality profiles of English bible translations,
bible cross referencing
Visit Open Bible at www.openbible.info/
There is a saying amongst teachers/trainers if you want to know more about something then teach it.
Read Acts 4:33
NIV says: With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
TNIV says: With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all.
ESV says: And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
NET Bible says: With 1great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all.
NRSV says: With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
In short as we share Good's Great News God's grace comes on us...
Why do you think this is so?
What do you think it means?
Surely this is a fantastic reminder that sharing God's Good News is not only a way for others to experience God's grace, but also ourselves as we share it.
What do you think?