Webster defines the word influence as “the power of persons or things to affect others, seen only in its effects.” Though the word influence is only found one time in the King James Version, its meaning is on every page. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his disciples that they are the “salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13-16). There are many interesting things you can say about this figure of speech. Salt is totally worthless while sitting on a shelf, it has to be applied. Salt can also loose its “saltiness.” When it looses its power to flavor, it is good for nothing and must be discarded. Paul told the brethren at Corinth they were an “epistle of Christ known and read by all men” (2 Cor. 3:1-3). Whether we like it or not, every Christian is an advertisement for Christ. It is rather scary to think the honor of Christ is in the hands of his disciples. Men of the world will judge Christ by the character of his followers. Have you ever considered what type of an advertisement you are? One of our songs suggests that “We are the only Bible the careless world will read, We are the sinners gospel, we are the scoffers creed, We are the Lord’s last message, given in deed and word, What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?” The majority of worldly people will pay very little attention to what we say, but our actions will always be scrutinized. When they think of our character and reputation, our actions will speak louder than our words.
I solidly trust that when you practice appreciation you improve your life.
When you invest energy consistently seeing what you are appreciative for, you start to build up a propensity for searching for something to be thankful for the duration of the day. While it’s conceivable (maybe even likely) that progressively extraordinary things will begin occurring in your life, is truly happening that you are just seeing the incredible things that have happened from the beginning.
As you see increasingly more to be thankful for, how you experience your life improves.
The most effective method to Practice Gratitude
Rehearsing appreciation is straightforward. You should simply make some time each day to see what you are thankful for. This is a training you can make all your own. You may keep an appreciation diary. Another probability is to invest energy contemplating what you are appreciative for as you nod off each night. You may make it a family undertaking and offer what you are thankful for around the supper table each night.
Anyway you practice appreciation, the key is to do it normally. Work in time for your appreciation practice each day. Past making it an every day practice, how you practice appreciation ought to be something that is special to you and your life. Something that feels better.
After some time, you will probably see that your familiarity with what you can be thankful for develops. You end up saying thank you to the intersection watch for their dedication.
My Gratitude Practice
I’ve rehearsed appreciation for quite a while now. I am increasingly persistent about it at certain occasions throughout my life and let it fall away at others. I certainly see a move in the manner I experience the world when I make tracks in an opposite direction from it for a really long time!
When I practice appreciation, it’s a family issue. My little girl and I, as a component of her sleep time schedule, read a book dependent on the Indigenous Thanksgiving Prayer. At that point we each put shortly unobtrusively (and once in a while with snickers) working out 10 things we are thankful for now. After we complete the process of composing, we alternate perusing our thanks unmistakably to one another.
This activity of petition, calm reflection and voicing appreciation is an amazing blend for me. It’s a training I trust I am ingraining for a lifetime as well.
Your Gratitude Practice
Do you as of now have an appreciation practice? Provided that this is true, I’d love for you to impart it to me in a remark underneath. It is continually moving to perceive what others are doing. In the event that you don’t yet and you’d like to begin, consider these inquiries to start shaping your training:
Will I set aside a few minutes for this in the first part of the day, during the evening, or both?
Do I want to talk my appreciations? Record them? Draw them?
Is this something I need to do without anyone else? Will I include others?
How would I make this basic and charming?
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Nearness of God – O my God, give me the sovereign effortlessness to react to every one of Your solicitations with liberality.
(Matthew 22:2-14) plots the dismal story—so evident even today—of human thoughtlessness which rejects God’s kindness and is not interested in His endowments and solicitations.
“The kingdom of paradise is compared to a lord, who made a marriage for his child, and he sent his workers to consider them that were welcome to the marriage; and they would not come.” The ruler is God the Father, the child is the endless Word who, getting to be manifest, upheld human instinct so as to reclaim and purify it. God welcomes all men to the incredible meal of the perfect pre-marriage ceremony at which they will discover their salvation; yet submerged in the realism of natural things, they dismiss the welcome and the errand people. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee” (Matthew 23:37), will one day be the regret of the Son of God as He reprimands before the world, not just the unshakable obstruction of the picked individuals yet additionally that of all spirits who have tenaciously and selfishly dismissed His adoration and His beauty. The prophets, St. John the Baptist, and the witnesses are the “workers,” the dispatchers sent by God to call men to the feast of the Redemption, yet they were altogether taken and slaughtered. They “laid hands on his workers, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death,” the Gospel says. [The] story closes there, yet sadly, human lack of appreciation has gone a lot further: the workers and ambassadors were executed, as well as even God’s exceptionally Son. However God’s kindness is great to the point that it can’t be vanquished; despite everything he welcomes all men to His devour and even offers this perfect Son, whom they have murdered, to be their Food. The feast is readied; Jesus, the awesome Lamb has been immolated for the recovery of humankind and, if many neglect to acknowledge the welcome, others will be welcomed. “The marriage without a doubt is prepared, however they that were welcomed were not commendable. Go ye in this manner into the expressways, and the same number of as you will discover, call to the marriage.”
We also have been welcomed. How have we reacted to the welcome? Have we not likewise indicated more intrigue and worry for natural issues than for the things of God? Have we not been similar to the men in the illustration who “ignored, and went their direction, one to his ranch, and another to his stock?”
St Ephrem the Syrian – for post on the Divine Invitation”O Lord, this is what You say to my spirit: ‘For what reason would you say you are so far from Me, kept by pointless interests? For what reason do you not rush to set up a wonderful wedding piece of clothing? I languished passing to take you over My companion. I progressed toward becoming man for you, to protect your life from debasement, I favored your salvation before the entirety of My works. I arranged a marital love seat for you in paradise, and I told the heavenly attendants to serve you. Okay detest Me, your wonderful Spouse? Also, whom would you like to Me, who in My kindness spared the entire human race? What father could give you life as I have? What father or what companion can love you as much as I?’
“O my God, what will I answer You?
“Excuse me, spare me, O persistent, patient Lord! Spare me, O Christ, Son of God, who alone are without transgression! Give that my heart may have no longing however to react to Your solicitations, and that with the assistance of Your beauty, I may dependably do Your will, and be incite and willing to complete Your requests, so that, with the abilities I have gotten from You, I might have the capacity to exchange and gain the beneficial things of Your kingdom. Give that I may laud You trustfully and let you know euphorically when I see You: ‘I am honored in light of the fact that You have come to dress me with the commendable marital piece of clothing which Your beauty has acquired for me.’
“I will light the light, O Christ, given to me by Your beauty and abundance. I will meet You euphorically, favoring, adulating, and commending You, O my unfading Spouse” (St. Ephrem).
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I trust that one of the greatest impediments to a man living her qualities is the simplicity at which we stall out on some random day. What’s more, it’s seldom the huge occasions that keep us down however the littler, persevering musings, mentalities, and fears that appear constantly.
When I experience a major issue, for example, an occupation change or a passing in the family, I’m on high alarm for whatever restricts God’s integrity in my life. I’m most likely asking more than at different occasions. I’m additionally more inclined to care more for myself, since I perceive that I’m experiencing a hard time.
In any case, on a “conventional” day, maybe I’m not all that alarm. Or then again I’m searching just for enormous issues. Anyway, what leaves me speechless? More subtle stuff:
the doubt that someone in particular doesn’t care for me
my continuous judgment against myself for being overweight or absent minded or not exactly sufficiently fashionable or some other zone in which I have evaluated myself as insufficient
the blame that won’t leave, since despite everything I haven’t restored that telephone call
the uneasy feeling I have not tried to name or address since it’s, well, uneasy
the occasion or duty I’ve added to my timetable without observing how essential it is and on the off chance that I ought to have acknowledged it
my feeling that God is baffled in me and that the main arrangement is to spend around five hours in petition
Getting unstuck doesn’t involve rolling out a colossal improvement or proclaiming yet one all the more huge guarantee to God or to myself. Getting unstuck involves one little advance forward. What’s more, as a rule the initial step is a genuine registration with yourself. When you understand, late morning, that you’re wasting your time, feeling stuck, attempt this procedure or some variant of it:
Get peaceful with yourself for a couple of minutes. Ask, What feeling am I feeling? Name that feeling.
Presently ask, Why am I feeling this? What is this feeling appended to? Appeal to God for the acumen to recognize the discussion (a somewhat sharp trade with a partner ten minutes prior) or the conviction (I’m not [blank] enough.) or the stress (Is that check going to bob?).
Pick one move you can make to check what’s happening. Replay that disagreeable working environment discussion from more separation. Maybe you feel collapsed in light of the fact that that individual truly was unkind or out of line, in which case you can request that God enable you to process these all around established emotions or even return to the individual and attempt to clear up what’s extremely going on. On the off chance that you feel that you are insufficient, at that point get even minded about it. Has any other individual brought up that you’re missing—or is there any proof at all that you miss the mark? If not, it’s a great opportunity to reveal to yourself reality. (I’m turning misrepresentations once more, which just neutralizes me. Master, pardon me for going down that street once more. Help me consider myself to be you see me.) If the financial balance is a stress, plan one stage of activity, and request fortifications if essential.
Pushing ahead so regularly includes focusing on what is as opposed to what we envision or dread. When you feel yourself coming to a standstill, enable that stop to trigger some on-the-spot mindfulness.
St. Ignatius exhorted individuals to “act against” whatever obstructed their otherworldly advancement. It isn’t sufficient to guarantee oneself an unfortunate casualty to lie, hardship, or barricades. The Holy Spirit is our ally, and we have the ability to use sound judgment and make particular move. In this way, when false and terrible self-talk is attacking your means, utilize genuine words and pictures to battle it. When you feel overpowered by an errand, break it into littler undertakings, and begin with one of them. At the point when your profound situated emotions are hauling you to a stop, confront them with valor. God structured us to encounter a scope of feelings, since life requires them. They are not moral decisions but rather essential pieces of information. Grasp a hint, and search for whatever is left of the story. It’s your story, all things considered. You can claim it and work with it—and God gives the beauty to do only that.
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In the event that you have been a Christian for any measure of time, you realize that profound enthusiasm, sight, and affections back and forth movement. On occasion our feeling of otherworldly substances can be solid and lively; different occasions, our hearts feel like lead weights and we wind up aching for God to visit us by and by and bring refreshment (Psalm 85:4-7). These seasons are generally alluded to as times of “profound dry spell” or “otherworldly dryness,” and discover imply articulation in a significant number of the Psalms. David frequently shouted out to God in times where his spirit appeared residue, and he longed to be invigorated by the nearness of the Lord (Psalm 13; Psalm 63). Different Psalmists communicated their aching to have their dry spirits to be renewed by the Lord (Psalm 42). The individuals who have tasted of the integrity of Christ comprehend being without that taste; it abandons us arguing, “illuminate my eyes, keeping in mind that I rest the rest of death” (Psalm 13:3)
Profound dry season, however a persevering and unwelcome guest isn’t something with which we should always live. There are Biblical means by which we can, by effortlessness, place ourselves in the method for refreshment; we can be reestablished to by and by feeling the delight of our salvation. However, this can just happen on the off chance that we can recognize why we may encounter otherworldly dryness so we can make the suitable move. Because of this, I might want to propose a couple of reasons we might encounter a period of a profound dry spell and give the connecting cures.
Diminish’s notice couldn’t be more unequivocal: “Keep away from physical desires which take up arms against the spirit” (I Peter 2:11). Debased considerations and newly developed dreams will just dull our feeling of profound things; that is the thing that Peter implies when he discloses to us that desire “takes up arms against the spirit.” Harboring desire contaminates our still, small voice, encourages our corrupt substance, and shrivels our otherworldly essentialness. On the off chance that is encountering the attacks of a profound dry spell, it might be on account of we are engaging our psyches with desire and sustaining our wicked wants with suggestive motion pictures, magazines, web destinations, or by essentially visiting the neighborhood shopping center. The main cure called for here is earnest admission and contrition (Proverbs 28:13; I John 1:9). So as to discover our spirits by and by captivated with the delight of our salvation, we should admit these wrongdoings and abandon them (Psalm 51:1-12), making plans to never again make any arrangement for the substance (Romans 13:14).
Jesus, in going up against the Pharisees’ longing for self-praise, gives a significant knowledge with respect to how pride identifies with confidence. The Pharisees were not able to see reality and magnificence of Christ since they were beguiled by their own brilliance and adored getting acclaim from men. Jesus asks them, “How might you accept when you get eminence from each other and don’t look for the transcendence that originates from the main God” (John 5:44)? Sparing confidence was prevented by their pride. What’s more, despite the fact that this entry talks particularly of pride discouraging sparing confidence, I figure we can securely apply this guideline to our lives as Christians: pride murders confidence in Jesus. On the off chance that we are sustaining self-esteem, looking for acclaim and thankfulness from our companions, our assemblage, our educators, our chief, or the individuals who read our web journals, we will discover rapidly that “God restricts the pleased” (James 4:6). Our spirits will wither as we fill them with the grandness that originates from man. Then again, abandoning ourselves and our notorieties to commend Christ no matter what will achieve otherworldly reestablishment since “[God] offers effortlessness to the humble.”
Love of Money
There is additionally an immediate correlation between our connection to stuff and our capacity to see the eminence of God. Jesus interfaces our physical look with our otherworldly sight in Matthew 6:19-23. In sections 19-21, Christ teaches us to save enduring fortunes in paradise as opposed to impermanent wealth here on earth. Regardless of whether we do this or not will significantly affect our affections, for “where [our] treasure is, there [our] heart will be too.” Jesus proceeds with, “The eye is the light of the body. So if your eye is solid, your entire body will be loaded with light, however, in the event that your eye is awful, your entire body will be brimming with murkiness” (vv. 22-23). At the end of the day, in the event that we are settled upon the sparkle of natural wealth, the brilliance God’s transcendence can’t sparkle into our souls and we will just endure profound thirst, not immersion. The arrangement here is to begin taking our eyes of natural wealth. This is frequently helped through supplication and by standard and predictable providing for our places of worship, devoted gospel services, to poor people and to those in require. Isaiah 58:10-11 is empowering in such manner,
On the off chance that you spill yourself out for the hungry and fulfill the longing of the tormented, at that point will your light ascent in the dimness and your anguish be as the afternoon. Furthermore, the LORD will manage you constantly and fulfill your craving in seared places, and make your bones solid; and you will resemble a watered garden, similar to a spring of water whose waters don’t come up short.
An absence of Bible Reading, Meditation, and Prayer
When we disregard Bible perusing, contemplation, and supplication, we are cutting ourselves off from fundamental sustenance for our spirits. It is difficult to flourish profoundly without sustaining our brains and hearts with God’s Word. Song 1 helps us to remember the advantages of contemplation,
Favored is the man who strolls not in the direction of the evil, or obstructs miscreants, nor sits in the singe of scoffers, however, his joy is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, he thinks day and night. He resembles a tree planted by floods of water, that yields its organic product in its season, and its leaf do not shrivel, in all that he does, he succeeds (vv. 1-3)
Then again, our leaf will shrink on the off chance that we are not planting ourselves close to the nurturing surges of God’s Word. This update is particularly imperative for those of us to incline toward administration and who want to remain occupied and beneficial. Despite the fact that it regards be occupied and continually possessing large amounts of crafted by the Lord (I Corinthians 15:58), our work can wind up unfilled, inhumane, and sapped of intensity in the event that we are not powering ourselves with the otherworldly nourishment that originates from God’s Word. We have to battle to set aside standard time to peruse, ruminate, and ask over Scripture. It is likewise helpful to retain Scripture with the goal that we can get refreshment from Biblical truth whenever amid the day. On the off chance that we decline to drink from the well of God’s Word all the time, we should just expect dry ground and wilted takes off.
A lot of Time Indoors
It is anything but difficult to perceive any reason why obtrusive sins like desire, pride, and the adoration for cash can obstruct profound energy and love. It isn’t so natural to perceive the unobtrusive impacts another way of life propensities have on our energy and imperativeness. One territory that I find gets little consideration is the part of the creation in keeping up our otherworldly wellbeing. In any case, if the sky proclaims the magnificence of God (Psalms 19:1), and in the event that we are revived by observing God’s eminence, it would just bode well to go outside with a specific end goal to view that radiance! On occasion I can actually feel my confidence resuscitated as I spend a couple of minutes gazing toward the glory of a starry evening sky, loaded up with unimaginable articulations of intensity and imagination. I can discover refreshment in a basic climb or walk. Also, I don’t think this is just on the grounds that I “love the outside.” I cherish the outside, not on the grounds that I can get REI profit credits, but rather in light of the fact that I can see grandness; and seeing this wonder has frequently served to reestablish my tired soul.
Absence of Exercise
This ties in with the last point yet have a place in its own particular classification since one doesn’t really should be outside keeping in mind the end goal to get work out. Presently, keeping in mind that this sound unspiritual and more like I am recommending things that are just helpful to those of a specific physiological cosmetics, let me have Don Whitney say something regarding this regularly ignored yet imperative point,
Our bodies are not only expendable holders for our unceasing spirits. God could have made us be incorporeal spirits, living perpetually in a condition like the spirits in Heaven live while sitting tight for revived bodies… But He made us be finished as a solidarity of body and soul. . . . One of the manners in which the body can have a constructive outcome upon the spirit is through recreational physical movement. Since most profound practices [disciplines: perusing, composing, examine, contemplation, etc.] are by definition otherworldly and not extremely physical, if our everyday work is generally mental and stationary then there’s little-assorted variety in the sort of jolts we encounter. Furthermore, the dullness of that can decrease the effect of our profound practices. The assortment that recreational physical activity gives to the cerebrum cells and muscle strands of a body may invigorate the spirit that abides in it (Simplify Your Spiritual Life)
Many will locate their profound imperativeness recharged by just going on a thirty-moment walk or run, or by taking a dip, or by riding their bicycle, or by climbing a portion of the trails close to their home. I am regularly astonished at how a tad of activity benefits me rationally and profoundly. Maybe you are seeking after the Lord, embarrassing sin, customary in Bible perusing and supplication, but then discover your spirit dry and dusty—perhaps you ought to go on a run.
Disregard of Responsibilities
When we pick sluggishness over industriousness, this can regularly prompt profound dryness, even sorrow. What’s more, this procedure, for the most part, sustains itself: lethargy will make profound dryness; when we are profoundly dry and discouraged, we are typically not intensely inspired to seek after the determination. However, it is exactly now that we have to break the cycle. We were made to work—when we subvert this key part of our personhood, we will end up profoundly dry and disappointed. Apathy never fulfills. That is one motivation behind why Scripture is loaded with charges to seek after persistence.
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“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
According to the above text, one who delights in the law of the Lord is “blessed.” It is his primary focus. He meditates on it day and night. It is a source of refreshment and life to him. He becomes as a tree that is planted by a river because the word of God makes his life fruitful and productive.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes him as a person who will “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). He considers receiving and giving instruction in God’s word as one of his greatest blessings. Learning and/or teaching the law of God is an activity he eagerly anticipates and thoroughly enjoys. Therefore, he values those times when his fellow-saints assemble for study and worship — knowing he will be with people who, like him, respect and adore the word of God.
Nehemiah 8:1-8 Is An Example of Proper Attitude Toward the Word of God
After their return from Babylonian captivity, the people of Judah set about to restore worship to God in Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 8, they asked Ezra the scribe to read the law of God to them. He assembled all the people, opened the book of the law before them, and then read distinctly from it to make sure the assembled crowd understood its message. The people, when beckoned, willingly assembled. They stood when the book of the law was opened — a show of reverence. Standing from daybreak to midday, they praised God for His word and then fell on their faces worshiping Him.
Whether proclaiming the word or receiving instruction from it, we should have the same willingness to assemble, the same reverence and respect, and the same praise for our God.
Acts 10:33 Is Another Example
Having summoned Peter to preach the message of God to him and his family, Cornelius told him of their willingness to hear him preach the gospel of Christ. Cornelius’ attitude — a model for all — caused him to:
- Send for one knowledgeable in God’s word.
- Assemble his family to hear what Peter would proclaim.
- Realize that God was present and that everything was being said and done before Him.
- Be ready to hear all things God had commanded.
What We Must Be and Do
If we are going to have the proper attitude toward the word of God, therefore, we must:
- Have good and honest hearts (Luke 8:15).
- Allow the word of God to “prick” our hearts (Acts 2:37).
- Gladly receive the word (Acts 2:40).
- Be discerning hearers (Acts 17:11).
- Be eager hearers (Matthew 5:6; Acts 10:33).
- Desire to hear and know all of the word (Acts 10:33).
- Desire only the word of God (Matthew 15:9).
What is your attitude toward the word of God? What should it be? Make sure it is what the Lord would have it to be.
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Shortly after Simon Peter made his confession to Jesus (Matthew 16:13-20 – NKJV), the gospel account next records the following exchange between Master and disciple:
“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men’” (Matthew 16:21-23 – NKJV).
At first reading, we might think that Jesus’ reply to Peter seems harsh. After all, Peter loved and revered Jesus — he had plainly confessed his faith in Jesus as the Christ. The very idea that someone would harm Jesus, much less kill Him, was unthinkable to Peter. He was willing to take up arms (John 18:10) and even sacrifice his own life (Matthew 26:35) to prevent any aggression against the Son of God. Most of us would be delighted to have someone as concerned for our well-being. Why then does Jesus upbraid Peter so sharply, calling him “an offense,” even referring to the apostle metaphorically as “Satan”? (Matthew 16:23 – NKJV).
To answer this question, let us carefully observe the latter part of Jesus’ rebuke:
“You are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Jesus did not deny Peter’s love for Him, but He recognized that love, to a certain degree, was a selfish one. After listening to the teachings of Jesus for three years, one would think that Peter would have understood God’s plan and purpose in sending His Son required His death as a sacrifice for the sins of others. Even if that fact were not entirely clear to the apostle, something else should have been — if the Lord said something had to happen in order for His will to be accomplished — that was exactly the way it had to happen (cf. Isaiah 55:10-11 – NKJV). There could be no room for argument, compromise, or second-guessing.
There’s no question that Peter believed in Jesus’ mission (Matthew 10:5-6 – NKJV; cf. Matthew 15:24; Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10), but he wanted to see that mission accomplished on terms suitable to him. He desired salvation, but he didn’t want Jesus to suffer and die to make that salvation possible — even if God said it was necessary (Hebrews 10:5-10 – NKJV; cf. Psalm 40:6-8 – NKJV; Matthew 26:39 – NKJV; John 4:34 – NKJV; John 5:30 – NKJV; John 6:38 – NKJV). Peter’s motivation to preserve the life of the Lord he so loved, would seem noble in our eyes. However, Jesus wanted him to understand that no motive is noble if it conflicts with God’s divine plan!
In today’s so-called religious world, we see many folks who are mindful of the things of men rather than of God. Their motives often appear worthwhile because they say they do not want anyone to be lost. However, they tell folks their sins are forgiven and their souls saved when they have not obeyed God’s commands of repentance and baptism (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21). Focusing only on the happiness of people, they offer them worldly diversions, even though these things are not according to God’s will (Colossians 2:18-23 – NKJV).
They want people to attend church services, so they make worship an attractive spectacle instead of humble obeisance to the Lord (John 4:24 – NKJV; 1 Corinthians 10:31 – NKJV; Colossians 3:16-17 – NKJV; cf. Micah 6:8 – NKJV; 1 Samuel 15:22 – NKJV). They don’t want to offend anyone, so they permit women to lead in worship despite God’s prohibitions in that regard (1 Corinthians 14:34-38; 1 Timothy 2:11-12) and justify those who unrepentantly engage in immorality (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21).
Jesus’ words to Peter prove that even the most sincere individual can be sincerely wrong when that sincerity is not fully subject to God’s will. Peter’s love for Jesus could not be permitted to supplant the Father’s righteous plan for mankind’s salvation (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 – NKJV). We would be wise to learn from Peter’s error, and remember that God’s work can only be done God’s way (Matthew 7:21-23), lest He say to us, “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23 – NKJV).
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In this article, let us briefly look at twelve types of givers and types of giving in the Bible:
1) The Willing Giver – Abraham, who offered his only son (Genesis 22:1-19).
2) The Big Little Giver – The widow, who in giving two mites, gave all she had (Mark 12:42-44).
3) The Stingy Giver – Saul, who wanted to offer the spoils of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 14:17-23).
4) The Sacrificial Giver – David, who refused to give that which cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24).
5) The Covetous Givers – Ananias and Sapphira, who held back part of the price of their possession pretending to give all (Acts 5:1-10).
6) The Consecrated Givers – The Macedonians, who first gave of themselves to the Lord (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).
7) The Life Givers – Peter and John, who had neither silver or gold, but instead gave life to the lame man (Acts 3:1-9).
8) The Voluntary Giver – Zacchaeus, who gave of his goods to feed the poor without being asked (Luke 19:1-9).
9) The Reward Givers – Those who gave to be seen of men. They had their only reward here on earth (Matthew 6:2).
10) The Unpretentious Giver – The Samaritan, who made no show of his giving (Luke 10:25-37).
11) The Perfumed Givers – The Philippians, whose gifts were “an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18).
12) The Greatest Giver – God, who gave His only begotten Son for you and me that we might be saved (John 3:16-17).
In this list of types of giving in the Bible, which giver best describes you? Let’s seriously think about this list of various types of givers and then strive to give our best to the Lord and His service. The Lord gave us the best that heaven had to offer, the sacrifice of His Son (Hebrews 9:11-14; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
The group model is a fancy way of talking about what each small group will look like once it’s done being put together. It’s a lot like a model car or airplane. There’s a picture on the box of what it’s supposed to look like once everything is done being snapped and glued together and once it has all the decal stickers and paint applied. This manual is the box cover that shows us what the group will should look like.
There are several different methods or models for small groups. The first question we have to answer in determining the model that best fits us is what is our purpose for a small group ministry? If our purpose is to learn more about the Bible then that will shape the form of the group. Or if the purpose were to exist as a separate Church altogether then that would certainly shape the way the group looked. Since we have a clear purpose (establish and maintain a structure where relationships can be created and cultivated), we are able to envision our model with a great deal of clarity. Our small groups will consist of 7-15 people meeting in one another’s homes to discuss Biblical topics and passages, share in time of prayer and intercession and spend time in fellowship. An important note is that these numbers are exact. If a group does not have at least seven people sign up (including the leader and co-leader) then the group will not be formed. Each of those members will be asked to join another group. Likewise, once a group is at fifteen people it will be closed and no additional church members will be able to sign up. This may, at first, seem overly strict; however this is an intentional effort to respect the natural group dynamics that have been previously discussed. If the group is too small or too large, it will struggle to meet the intended purpose.
Open or Closed Groups
The idea of being open or closed has to do with whether or not the group will encourage and invite people to join the group while it is in session. Because of our primary purpose, each small group will be closed to our church members once it has begun. That means there’s no group hopping if someone becomes unhappy with their group. However, because of our secondary purposes of assimilation and evangelism, each small group will be open for us to invite our friends, new members or people who visit.
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At this point it is helpful to consider the impact of group dynamics and how this idea plays out in our own model, or way of “doing church”. Group dynamics are not an especially religious phenomenon; as they extend beyond churches and into organizations of all shapes, sizes and purposes. When we use the term group dynamics, what we are referring to here is primarily the differences between people’s interactions and relationships when they are placed in groups of different sizes. In other words, how people act when they are in a group of seven people will be different from how people act when they are in a group of one hundred people.
Large Groups = Family Reunions
The first of the three different group types is the large group. A large group numbers more than 50-60 participants and is comprised primarily of tertiary relationships. In our context, our Sunday morning worship assembly is a large group; where the primary purpose is to worship God together as a large family. There is very little, if any, personal sharing that takes place when this group meets. Specifically, our interaction and relationship development is limited to the few minutes prior to and immediately following the worship time.
In order to understand the social dynamic, it might be helpful to think of this group as a family reunion. At traditional family reunions we have the opportunity to catch up on what’s been going on in our lives, reminisce about fond memories and departed loved ones, share a great meal together and even create a few new memories. It’s a great time, a time that none of us would ever trade. But there are limits to what we do together. This is very much what our Sunday morning worship is like.
One of the misunderstandings of large groups in the church context is that everyone should be close, and able, to minister to everyone. That is an expectation that cannot be met and sets people up for disappointment and disillusionment with church; because it is not congruent with the purpose of the large group on Sunday mornings—which is to worship, encourage one another and be edified by the Word of God being presented.
Medium Groups = Thanksgiving Dinner
The next group is the medium sized group. A medium sized group will generally number between 15-50 people. These groups are comprised primarily of secondary relationships. In the context of our church our medium-sized groups are primarily going to be bible classes on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. These middle-sized groups are usually, depending to a large extent on the group leader, successful at providing a non-threatening environment where people can share on a surface level. People can get to know everyone in the group by name, talk about things like the weather, their hobbies and maybe even their families. It’s an opportunity to experience social fellowship, acceptance and sense of belonging. And in the context of our bible classes, it gives people the opportunity to ask questions and share thoughts and opinions about the text or topic being discussed, which the large group does not provide.
If the large group is like the family reunion, then the medium sized group is like the family that gets together at Thanksgiving. Your spouse, children, grandkids and perhaps a sibling might all be present. Because of these relationships, we will generally share on a much more personal level than with our second cousins at the family reunion. But because of the size of the group and the relationships present there is still a ceiling or limit to the level of closeness that we might be willing to share.
Small Groups = Dinner Table
This brings us to small groups. These groups generate primary relationships and generally number between 5-15 people. It is in these primary or small groups that relationships are deepened and intimate or personal sharing takes place. Referring to the family illustration, this would be your immediate family with your spouse and children. When your immediate family sits down together for supper (at the dinner table) there is very little that is off limits in terms of where our relationships will allow the conversations to go. If we are functioning as healthy family units then the kids will feel open to share what happened at school that day and how it made them feel (good or bad). Similarly, Dad will feel comfortable griping to Mom about the person at work that is being difficult. And Mom will have no problem sharing the personal struggle that she might be having with her sister and mother. These are representative examples of what small groups are like—members of the group sharing life together and thereby practicing the “one another” passages. This is different in content from the Thanksgiving meal family. And it is certainly different from the Family Reunion group.
A Summary Diagram of the Small, Medium and Large Group Types
In the church setting the small group goes beyond surface interaction and social fellowship to a spiritual fellowship. In small groups people can begin to fulfill biblical mandates such as “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and “weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15). The small group is the context where those things are lived out.
The point is not that small groups are inherently more valuable or more biblical. Each has their place in the Church and presents their own unique value. And this is why a small group ministry is essential for our ability as a Church to effectively live out the biblical expression of the church as a family. Having this ministry built into our structure provides a stable and consistent opportunity for us to collectively practice the “one another’s” and thereby fulfill our Vision to be Jesus’ family.
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