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Matthew 16

18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.

It is God who is responsible for building his church. It is God who is responsible for growing his church. Jesus didn’t tell us to build his church. Jesus didn’t command us to grow his church. Jesus told us to “make disciples.”

Jesus builds his church. We build Christians. We make disciples teaching them the way Jesus teaches, through the model of our lives and through his teaching. As we grow, we are moving through the levels of maturity and leading others to do the same, blessing the world all along the way.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, God isn’t all that concerned about how many people are attending worship in any given church. If he was he would certainly be capable of filling churches throughout the land. According to the Bible, God’s main concern is how mature the people who make up the church are becoming. How high-joy the church community is becoming. God is interested in growing us in maturity to be that kind of person in the lives of others.

Paul gives us this instruction.

Colossians 1:28

Jesus is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.

Once again, here is how Dallas explains it. I will let him have the last word.

“Instead of counting Christians we need to weigh them. We weigh them by focusing on the most important kind of growth—love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, kindness, and so on—fruit in keeping with the gospel and the kingdom.”

ME

A high-joy church community is the best environment in society for people to grow in maturity, and it is where you will find the most adult and beyond maturity people. What does this mean to you, personally?

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Colossians 1

So we continue to tell people about Christ. We use all wisdom to counsel every person and teach every person. We are trying to bring everyone before God as people who have grown to be spiritually mature in Christ.

Live out of your identity as God’s precious child. You are special in God’s eyes and he’s got your back. With God you need no mask and he is the only one who matters.

What else?

Live in community with God’s people whom you can imitate. People that you share day-to-day life with. You imitate the Christlike behavior of those God has placed in your life.

This is why young people have such a tremendous opportunity for growth as part of a church community. Besides your own family, you are not going to find finer adult models to imitate than those who make up your faith family. When you actually look around you, there are so many people invested in your life.

That’s what we do in Christian community.

We encourage relationship with the generations, and try not to isolate our people into generational niches. Maturity is a matter of growing together as our best true selves.

Those of us who are older have the experience in relationships and the living-life resources that we can share. Those who are younger have the energy and the curiosity that they can share. Together we move forward into a future where God is ahead of us, leading us as we act like ourselves.

ME

Make progress in sharing your life with your faith family.

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Ephesians 3

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

For Christians, we are called to be like Jesus. So, we look at situations of life as he would. How would his people act?

What would the person God made me to be do in this situation?

What would Jesus do if he were me in this situation?

What would the people of God at their best do in this situation? That’s what it means to act like yourself. Act like the person God made you to be. Jesus is already in you ready to go.

What is it like to know that you have Jesus in you ready and able to grow? “Living with the heart Jesus gave you,” Wilder calls it.

We can compare this heart of Jesus to a seed. The seed has all the potential to become a plant that bears fruit. What does the seed need? To start out, the seed needs tender loving care. Water and nourishment. Keeping weeds away. As the seed grows, there is one need for light all along the way. The plant doesn’t just grow up towards the light, the plant grows more roots to have a steady dose of nourishment. Hardship is not avoided at all cost, because challenges are necessary so resistance can make the plant grow stronger. The plant doesn’t have to go looking for hardship, it will be there as it learns to grow with other plants.

Everything we need to be like Jesus is already inside of us who belong to him. But, much of it is below ground and needs to be wakened.

This is where being a RARE leader comes in. A RARE leader is really good at seeing Jesus in others and influencing that to come out. Most people see only the negative and the weakness in others. We rarely see who they really are, meaning see them like God sees them. Until we can look at other’s through God’s eyes, we will not be able to help them act like themselves.

ME

Today, try to look at people the way God sees them.

Psalm 105

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.

Let the whole world know what he has done.

Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.

Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.

When we think of giving thanks and singing God’s praises we think mainly about going to church.We think that way, but God doesn’t think that way. God’s main purpose for his people is to get his influence out into the world. The world means where his people live and work. Where they spend their time. Jesus makes this our focus when he tells us to, “Love your neighbor.”

That’s why how many people are in a church on a Sunday morning is not a measurement God is taking. “Did my church in insert your city here have a good crowd last Sunday?” is something God has never said in the heavenly dimensions. How do I know this? God doesn’t think that way.

God measures how you are doing in your walk of faith by how you are seeking the good of your neighbor and acting on this good where you can. That is a good definition of “love.” You can simplify this even further, by using the phrase, “Be a blessing to your neighbor.”

God is not asking you, “Did you attend an event on Sunday morning?” but rather “Did you live a life this week blessing your neighbors? How did that go?”

ME

Why do Christians spend so much time thinking about church as a place to go to services? Does this have to do with focusing on their actions rather than God’s? What about you?

Friday April 15- Doing The Bible

Psalm 1:4-6

But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

Without the Scripture to guide us, we are like tumbleweed. Being blown around, influenced by whatever is current or popular. Unless your wisdom is informed by the Word of God, it is not wise. I don’t think this true because the Bible says so, I know this is true because the Bible works.

Sometimes, we Christians spend too much time trying to convince people that we are the pure Bible people. We use words like, The Bible is “inerrant” or the Bible is “infallible.” We say things like, “We are a Bible-believing church.”

Maybe that’s helpful, or maybe we are just throwing around a bunch of words.

You see, I don’t need you to make declarations about the Bible. I’ll tell you how well it is working for you by spending time with you and seeing what kind of a person you are. How much of that inerrant, infallible word is soaking into you? Does your life resemblance someone who is familiar with Jesus?

A joy-filled, gracious encouraging person is someone I want to spend time with. Someone who is interested in me.  Then, as we grow in our relationship, I will want to get to know the resources that have influenced your life. And, voila, I get to know the Scriptures.

See how easy that was? This would have saved thousands upon thousands of hours in church conventions since the beginning of time arguing about who likes the Bible more than the other guy or who is better at interpreting it.

Here it is in 10 seconds. Does the Bible work? All those in favor, say, “Aye.”

Me

Spend some time asking God to give you a thirst for his Word. Then meditate on some passages. Like Psalm 1 and Psalm 2.

Wednesday April 13- Disciple?

Psalm 1:1-2

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.

Someone who shines the light of Jesus and has a track record of wisdom, is someone who is gold in relationships. Someone whom you would want to hang out with. Someone to do life with and spend time watching and listening. This is a joy. You are glad to spend time with him. She is being used by God to expand who you are.

What about you? Who is investing in you on the Way? Who are you following?

If there is no one, it’s time for a change.

And what about you? Whom are you investing in? Who follows you on the Way?

Now, if you can’t think of anyone you are learning from who has a track record of wisdom, who has things happen around them where God shows up, then it’s time to get connected. And If you say, “All I need is Jesus,” I say, “No, I don’t trust your wisdom,” because Jesus said, “Make disciples/ Be disciples.”

I can’t afford to follow those who don’t follow Jesus.

And I don’t automatically think someone who is a mocker, a doubter, a skeptic is wise. In our society today, as long as it is not a liberal cause, if you are skeptical and doubting you are considered brilliant. You don’t even have to rationally support your thinking. Just call anything smacking of God or spirituality or faith or morality as foolish, sad, primitive and misinformed.

What passes for brilliance today is for most modern universities and the majority of media to reinforce what is already believed to be true and what is already believed to be wrong.

We aren’t much better, when view only a small slice of the world’s people, hear only haphazard bits of highly selected evidence from news outlets or other sources, and talk to only a narrow group of generally like-minded friends.

So, instead of reasoned comparison, our culture, and many times we are that culture, simply need to reinforcement what is already believed to be true, and what is already believed to be wrong.

No.

Me

Make a list of three positive accomplishments of the presidencies of President Bush Jr. and President Obama. Cant’ do it? Why not? Then try again.

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Our pens for afrikids outreach to students in Kenya and Sierra Leone recently sent out 2,000 pens for school children. Here is a thank-you letter from Kenya, from Fanuel Okwaro, Director, and a couple of photos. Loving our neighbors in expanded ways…

Dear Buzz,
We are happy to inform you that pens you send us arrived safely. I picked them from the post office today.
When we distribute them to the kids we shall take photos so that you can share them with your congregation and other donors who participated in collecting the pens
Thank you so very much again Buzz
May Peace ,Love and Joy be with you
FANUEL

Fanuel Okwaro,
The Director,
Galilee Primary School,
P.o Box 70014-00400,
Tom mboya Street,
Nairobi Kenya.
Tel: +254- 0733-612299  or 254-  0720713219
E-mail:  galileepry@yahoo.com

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