Posted by & filed under Church, Commitment, Faithfulness, Family, Relationships.

But when the young man heard this, he went away very sad, for he had many possessions. Matthew 19:22 (NLT)

The above verse is one of the saddest verses in all of Scripture. It comes at the end of a remarkable encounter with Jesus. The young man came to Christ with courage, hope and curiosity; “Good teacher, what do I need to do to have eternal life?”  He had life already, a good life: he had youth, position (Luke tells us he was a “ruler”), and possessions. He lived a good life, keeping at least four of the 10 Commandments from his childhood. By all accounts, he was probably living much better than the majority of the population he lived among. But something was missing; something kept him restless, kept him seeking and searching for something… something else.

In spite of his position, his possessions, and his prospects for future success he was incomplete – he lacked peace… peace of mind, peace in his spirit, peace that comes from knowing who you are and where you are going. So he kept searching. Maybe he was like Solomon who indulged himself in every worldly pleasure and production (See Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament). Yet nothing brought him peace. Maybe he looked for it in relationships? Maybe he numbed himself with drink? But nothing brought him what he was looking for.

But then he heard about Jesus who was preaching peace, and rest, and hope that comes from God. Maybe Jesus had the answer to what he was looking for and how he could find it. And so he comes in sincerity; Mark says he kneeled before Jesus, and he asked his question with hope. Jesus gives him an answer – “keep the laws.” Already done! Been keeping them since he was a kid. Then Jesus gives him THE answer: “If you want to be perfect” – Ahhh, there it is, what he has been looking for all of his life. The Greek word is teleios, “to be complete, finished, perfect”… to be at peace with who you are and where you are going. What does he need to do to be complete? Find the right job? Be in the right relationship? Live in the right neighborhood? Have the right financial portfolio? (None of those had worked for him before). No, Jesus says, “…go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matt 19:21 (NLT)

What? Get rid of all the “things” the world says he needed to be happy and secure? Yes, get rid of everything and give to those who have nothing – store up some valuable heavenly treasures instead of temporary worldly treasures. THEN follow Jesus. What he has been looking for all of his life is right in front of him. (Don’t miss this) He’s given an opportunity to be complete, to be at peace, to finally be truly happy. But for that to happen he has to go against everything his culture, his heritage and even his own mind has told him is right. What would he do? What would you do?

What he did was the easy thing; he walked away. He walked away from the One person who could give him the one thing he had never been able to find. He walked away from treasures in heaven and eternal life. He walked away from completeness, peace and true happiness.

We shake our heads in disbelief – doesn’t he understand? Doesn’t he know who Jesus is? Doesn’t he know what he’s giving up? He knew… and so do we. He took the easy way out and it happens every day. We walk away because the reality of the situation doesn’t match the vision in our minds. We walk away from relationships, from family, from community, from friends, from ministries, from responsibility, from churches… It’s not what we thought it would be, we’re not in love anymore, we’re not being fed, we aren’t making connections, nobody understands me… so we do the easy thing, we walk away. And when you walk away from one situation, it becomes easier to walk away from any situation.

Jerry Rice is a Hall of Fame football player and may be the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game. He holds five career records, four single season records, and twelve Super Bowl records. He was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 2010. He was also legendary for his off-field conditioning regiment. Hardly anyone would work out with him because his workouts were so grueling. Jerry Rice had a commitment to excellence that took him to the top of his profession, and brought him great success both on and off the field… but he almost never made it as a football player.

Jerry joined his high school football team in tiny Crawford, MS as a sophomore. One hot, sultry day while running wind-sprints in full pads, up and down a small hill, Jerry decided he had had enough. He was hot and tired and figured no one would even notice him slip off the course. He had walked part of the way across the field when something caught in his spirit. There was a struggle going on within him. The easy thing was to quit, but was it the right thing? His body said, “Give up. Go home. It doesn’t matter.” But his mind said, “NO.” Jerry decided that if he walked away from those sprints on that sultry day, it would make it easier to quit the next time faced a challenge in anything. He decided he didn’t want to begin a pattern of quitting and taking the easy way out. He knew if he quit on football, there would be other things he would quit on. He decided that quitting was unacceptable, so he put his helmet back on, turned back to the hill and finished out his sprints. Jerry says that day was a turning point in his life, and he attributes his success as a professional football player to one day in his life when he didn’t walk away, when he didn’t quit. It made all the difference in the world in his life.

“But when the young man heard this, he went away very sad…” Matt 19:22 (NLT) As far as we know, he never found what he was looking for (eternal life, completeness, peace) because he walked away.

What about you? What are you walking away from because it’s not what you thought it would be? What are you walking away from because …it’s hard, it’s painful, it’s just easier to walk away than to obey? Who are you walking away from? Scripture is full of warning to those who would walk away:

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 16:25 (NLT)

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Matt 7:13-14 (NLT)

Choose wisely what/who you walk away from… for what you are walking into may not lead where you want to go.

 

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Posted by & filed under Church, Prayer.

I am studying through the book of Philippians using a Bible study method called the H.E.A.R. Journal. H.E.A.R. stands for Highlight, Explain, Apply, Respond. As you read the text, the Holy Spirit will highlight a passage that God would have you dig further into. Read over it a few times and then listen for the Holy Spirit’s explanation of the text, and think about how the text applies to you or your situation. Then, what are you going to do about it? or How will I respond? I hope this is helpful:

H.E.A.R. Journal

Philippians 1:3-6 (NKJV) H – I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; E – Paul was writing to a church that he had planted under some difficult circumstances (see Acts 16). A few years later he is writing back to them to expresses his affections for the saints at Philippi. He remembers them in prayer, thanking God for them, praying for their needs (with joy), thanking God for their “fellowship” in the gospel. Paul recognizes their partnership that began when he planted the church continued even after he left to continue his missionary work. They never forgot him and continued to support him even after he left the area. Not only does Paul remember the past, but he is confident of their future – God started the work in Philippi, and God will continue the work until Christ comes again. A – It’s God’s church (every church); He started and will work on it and accomplish all that He desires through it until Jesus comes again. We can have confidence in God’s work, but that is not an excuse for us not to work with him through the church. God does His work in us and through us. Following Paul’s example, we are to be thankful for the church, our partnership with one another in the church for the Gospel; and have faith and hope in the future of the church. R – I will am thankful for the partners in the Gospel at Magna View. I will pray for them with joy and I will pray with hope and confidence that God will continue His work that He began. I love the Lord, and I love His church at Magna View and I desire to see us succeed in the mission for which God created us.

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Recently I have been studying through the book of Philippians and God has been revealing some things about myself. My hope in sharing is that others can relate and we can grow together. Also, I’ve been using the H.E.A.R. (Highlight, Explain, Application, Response) method of journaling that I learned from Robby Gallaty; it has really helped me organize my thoughts.

Philippians 1:1-2 (NKJV)

H – Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

E – Paul identifies he and Timothy as “bondservants” (doulos). The word refers to someone who is a slave, often by force, but also by choice. It could describe one who willingly gives himself up and is wholly devoted to another to the disregard of his own interest. This is how Paul presented himself (and Timothy) in relation to Jesus Christ – devoted to Him to the disregard of his own life and interests.

A – Paul and Timothy have given themselves over to Christ, they are His slaves. As His slaves, they do His will and His work. The work that they are doing through this letter is to encourage and direct the leaders and the saints who are in Philippi. God planted the church in a difficult area – Roman colony, pagan worship, materialistic society… but they were not a wealthy church. Paul desires to come alongside and lift them and to thank them for their ministry to him and others.

R – How do I respond to the passage? The question God pricked my heart with: Am I a bondservant? Have I given myself fully to God to the disregard of my own self? I have that desire, but fear keeps me from fully investing myself in Christ. I pray that I would die to self today and everyday that I would fully live in Christ.

I know I can never fully live for Christ until I have completely died to myself and surrendered myself to Him. Honestly, some days I do OK and feel like God has used me. But there are too many other days when all I’ve done is lived for me, thought of myself first and been frustrated when things didn’t go my way. I don’t have the answer on how to be a “doulos” of Christ everyday, but I know that I will try again tomorrow. And maybe that is the answer.

 

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In our most recent bulletin, Barbra Bull, our Mission Friends director, included a letter of thanks and encouragement for your giving to our church budget and to our Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong missions offerings.

The letter has a few words from a couple of our International Mission Board missionaries, Mary and her husband Fred who are serving in Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Fred and Mary are seeing many people, including many Muslims, come to faith in Jesus. Mary explains how your giving enables them to do the work of the Lord. Here is the letter that was in our bulletin:

Dear Church Family,

Mission Friends would like to thank you for your recent contributions to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter offering. You may not know that our church gives regularly to the Cooperative Program which supports the 5,000 missionaries of the Southern Baptist Convention. Let’s give more to our church budget so that we can continue to spread the Gospel. The more we give to our church budget, the more we send to missionaries. We want to tell you about one family that serves in West Africa who has strong ties to our community. Mr. and Mrs. Griggs are members of First Baptist Morristown and their daughter Mary and her husband Fred serve in HOT Mauritius. Because of our giving to our church budget we support them. What if these were your children or grandchildren? These are Mary’s words:

Because you give:

*We get to live in and beautiful home and drive a good car.

*We get to send our daughter to North Greenville University and she was able to come to our island for her IMB college-paid visit.

*Our son get to attend Rift Valley Academy which is a highly acclaimed Christian school.

*We have EXCELLENT health and dental insurance.

*We get to travel back to the US once every 3 years to see family and friends.

*You allow us to travel to meetings where we are grained, encouraged and supported.

*Most importantly we have the privilege of seeing people’s lives changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our list could go on… but we area so THANKFUL for your financial support that allows us to live and work on this beautiful island. Thank you from Mission Friends. We are learning all we can about missionaries and their work around the world.

Barbara Bull, Director

Thank you Barbara and Mission friends for your reminder and encouragement that we fulfill the Great Commission through our giving. Though we may never travel to Mauritius, we are making a difference for the Kingdom there through our giving of tithes and offerings.

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Recently I was asked to serve on a “Harvest Field Advisory Board” with the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

Our group is charged with figuring out how to promote and encourage Five Objectives among the network of churches known as the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The Five Objectives are ministry goals for our network of churches over the next 10 years. When Dr. Randy Davis became the Executive Director of the TBC one of the first things he did was take a hard look at the numbers that would indicate how we, the churches of the TBC, was impacting lostness in our state; the numbers weren’t good. While the population of Tennessee has increased dramatically over the last 65 years, the number of baptisms, an indicator of evangelistic impact and Kingdom growth, were declining steadily. In 1950 TBC churches baptized 34,589 people, in 2011 we baptized 22,689. During the last 65 years the population of Tennessee has nearly doubled and since 1970 we’ve seen an annual decrees in baptisms that average around 280 a year. Today more than 6 million people live in Tennessee and over 80% of them do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Five Objectives were born out of the intense, focused prayer of Dr. Davis and the 2021 Vision Team. They were adopted by the TBC at last year’s Summit meeting in Brentwood. Last month the Executive Board reorganized around these Five Objectives to better focus their efforts and resources on seeing them fulfilled. The prayer and desire now is that the network of Tennessee Baptist churches across our state will catch the vision of what the Lord can/will do through our churches to change the spiritual direction of our state.

The Five Objectives are: 

  1. Seeing 50,000 Tennesseans annually saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship by 2024.
  2. Having at least 500 Tennessee Baptist churches revitalized by 2024.
  3. Planting and strategically engaging 1,000 new churches by 2024.
  4. Realizing an increase in collective annual giving to the Cooperative Program that reaches 10 percent by 2024.
  5. Realizing an increase in annual giving for the Tennessee Baptist Golden Offering for State Missions that reaches $3 million by 2024.


Please prayerfully consider these objectives and join me in praying that our church will catch the vision God has given to the churches and leadership of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. 

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4th Annual Wild Game Festival

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Activities
Thankful Heart (Music Tent) 12:00-1:00
Freedom Fellowship (Music Tent) 1:00-2:00
Bill Landry (Sanctuary) 2:00-3:00
Messiah’s Call (Music Tent) 3:00-4:00
Bill Landry (Sanctuary) 4:00-5:00
Pellet Trap (Campus) All Day
Jet Ski Simulator (Campus) All Day
TWRA Education Trailer (Campus) All Day
Live Fish Tank (Campus) All Day
Falconry Demonstrations (Campus) All Day
Informational Booths (Campus) All Day

  • Sgt. Lowell Russell Tennessee Highway Patrol
  • Baptist Builders
  • Vacation Bible School

NERF Target Shooting (Campus) All Day
Wild Game Cooking Demos (Campus)12:00-5:00
Cobbler Cook-off & Homemade Ice Cream ($5.00)  (Campus) All Day
FREE Wild Game Supper (Tent) 5:00-7:00
Dr. William “Bill” Brown (Keynote Speaker) 7:00-8:00
Fabulous Door Prizes! (Tent) 8:00
Rifle & Shotgun Raffles ($10.00) (Campus) All Day

Speakers:

Dr. William “Bill” Brown
Dr. William “Bill” Brown is a pastor, church planter and outdoorsman. A self-described army brat, he flew helicopters in Vietnam. He and his wife Kathy spent 20 years in Alaska where he worked in ministry, public education and commercial fishing. They eventually relocated to the South where Dr. Brown taught church planting and evangelism courses at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as the Director of the North American Church Planting degree program. Dr. Brown gave his life to Christ when he was nine. He realized later in life that the Army did a better job of teaching him to be a helicopter pilot than the church did of teaching him to be a Christian. Therefore, he continues his life’s work to outfit disciples for Christ. Along with a busy speaking schedule, Dr. Brown is also currently lead pastor of a new church in Youngsville, North Carolina – North Star Baptist Church.

Bill Landry
Bill Landry is an actor, director and producer best-known for The Heartland Series. For more than 25 years, WBIR-TV’s The Heartland Series and Bill Landry delved into the rich history of East Tennessee – its people, culture and folklore. Landry’s engaging personality put many people at ease. He managed to tease out stories that lesser interviewers might not have. The endearing series was also featured on the Travel Channel for six years Landry and The Heartland Series received many accolades during its run, including four Emmy awards. The Chattanooga native currently lives in Blount County and is a much in-demand speaker.

Messiah’s Call
Messiah’s Call is one of the fastest, up-and-coming groups on the American gospel scene! The Knoxville-based Southern Gospel trio started in January 2014 with lead vocalist Jack Allen, baritone Eric McConkey and alto Corky Long. Together these three produce one of the tightest blends and purest harmonies in the gospel music industry today. Messiah’s Call released its debut single “He’ll Do It Today” in October 2014. It received wide radio airplay and eventually reached number 4 on the Southern Gospel Times chart. Although a still relatively new group, Messiah’s Call maintains a packed performance schedule. The current lineup includes: Jack Allen (lead vocalist), Keith Howard (baritone) and Corky Long (alto).

Wild Game Dinner
You are in for a treat and we promise you won’t leave hungry! Be sure to sample ALL of dishes. On the supper table tonight include dishes made with:

deer                     duck                       bear                       pheasant
frog legs               crawfish                  fish                        alligator
dove                    squirrel                    hog                        raccoon
beaver                 opossum                 muskrat                  turkey

Magna View Baptist Church’s Wildlife Ministry T-shirts “Shoot Straight” are available for sale. Look cool while you spread the good news about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!


“Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me.” Genesis 27:3 NKJV

 

Special thanks:
Soundscapes Media for providing sound
All the volunteers who made this happen
Our heavenly Father for His grace, mercy and forever lovingkindness

 

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We had a great turn-out for our town hall meeting last Sunday night. The evening began with a delicious meal and a wonderful time of fellowship. We then moved into the sanctuary for a time of discussion concerning the future building project. Below is a brief synopsis of the meeting:

Much of the discussion centered on the Swafford property adjacent to our church property. Ideally, if we were able to purchase that property, it would give us more flexibility in where we would put a new building or parking space. The owner has been approached about purchasing the property, but he has stated that since his daughter lives in the house, it will have to be her decision to sell, which she has not been inclined to do. After much discussion, the decision was made to ask the Trustees to approach her about the possibility of purchasing the property for the church, as well as how we might minister to her through this process. Please pray for this situation, and pray for our Trustees as they reach out to our neighbor.

There was also discussion about what to do with the current office building. The house has served us well over the past few years as office space as well as for classrooms. However, because of the age and the limitations of the house layout, there was a consensus that the building was not a part of the future of the church. The consensus gives the Building Team more flexibility to plan for the future.

The final area of discussion centered on what kind of building we might look to build. Several people commented on what kind of ministry the Lord could do through a multi-purpose building. It would serve as a fellowship hall, provide a place for recreation for all ages, a walking track, children’s programs such as AWANA, and possibly serve as a temporary worship center if the need should arise due to growth. There was also input about the community ministry that it could be used for including sports ministry such as Upward sports, a meeting place for organizations in our community, and possibly house a food pantry for those in need in our community. One comment that really stood out to me, “We should do whatever it takes to get lost people to Christ.”

The Building Team is planning to visit other churches who have multi-purpose buildings to look at the types of buildings that are being used and the various ministries they are being used for. There is no time frame for this project. We are simply trying to be obedient to take the next step as the Lord leads us.

Included in the discussion were several Scripture references that God has been bringing to people’s minds as they pray and think about what God wants to do in the future of Magna View:

  • To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.1 Corinthians 9:22
  • For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:9
  • Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it. Psalms 127:1

  • So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47

There several references to Nehemiah and the work of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, which has recently been studied in Sunday morning Bible Study, and the challenges that will be faced and and need to be overcome. No work of the Lord ever goes unchallenged from both inside and outside of the church. There were calls for prayer and for unity in the body as we continue this process. What became clear to me is that, though we are looking at building a physical building, the nature of the work is spiritual. It is less about the end result, and more about what God is doing in us and through us through this process.

Thank you church, for prayerfully seeking the Lord and His will for His body at Magna View.

 

Posted by & filed under Church, Prayer, Youth.

Youth aThis past Sunday our Youth and several adults prayer walked a portion of our community.

We divided into three groups and covered most of Settlers Estate and Rolling Acres subdivisions. Afterward, we gathered in the Fellowship Hall to share our experiences and talk about how we saw God work through our efforts. I asked Tim if he would write up a summary of some of those experiences to share with you, our family of faith. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read his words.,

Apprehension, hesitation or reluctantly are all words you could use as we approached the first door on Whippoorwill Dr. Heart in my chest, repeating the words of Christ over and over again. “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go…”

It wasn’t like we were heading into the brush of some strange country where our lives could be in danger, but nonetheless, it was an exercise in trusting and following Christ. Twenty-one of us in all, divided up to answer Matthew 28:18-20 by prayerfully participating in a prayer walk in the neighborhood behind our church, and knocking on doors to see how we might pray for the community that we shadow. I rang the doorbell, waited, and then knocked, and an older gentleman emerged from the house. I introduced myself, our group, and our church and asked “How can we pray for you?” He looked confused as he tilted his head, and responded “Of course, I just got out of church, but I can always use some prayer.” We all joined hands and prayed with Don, and you could see how deeply it had moved him to see the youth with us who eagerly awaited to pray. On to the next house, no answer, but we could tell someone was home, but we had expected this to be the case.

Down to the next one and we knocked on the door, one of the youth kidding that I didn’t have to knock like the Hulk. May opened the door and we asked if we might pray with her, and just like with Don, she paused in confusion, but then began to tell us her story. She had been widowed two months and seventeen days ago, and she was still hurting with the loss, tears filling her eyes. We all joined hands and prayed for May. Then it registered with me, this is what it is all about, this is why Jesus has asked us to “Go” and not simply open the doors of our church building; if we are to meet people in their needs we have to step outside the normal confines of the building, and let the Spirit work in a way that is unimaginable to all involved.

I would like to say that this happened at every house that we came to, but out of all the houses our team came to, about 30, only six opened their doors to us, but at each house that opened its doors, God had ordained that meeting before hand, as Ephesians 2 tells us. From Danielle, who was preparing to be tested for leukemia in two days, to James who is an active member of a church, but said “What you are doing is a good thing, more churches need to be doing this!” What was clear above any doubts at the end of the day was that Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. Despite what popular culture may tell us, Jesus words are just as true today as ever, people still need the Lord and we would be fools not to follow him seeking the one (Matthew 18).

Tim UpChurch, Youth Pastor

I’m proud of our youth and their leaders, and thankful for Tim for sharing this experience in written words.

 

 

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We had our first Family Meeting of the year this past Wednesday; here are the highlights to recap:

Mike Heffner presented the Treasurer’s Report which closed out 2014. Our annual budget goal was $238,300.00 and fell just a bit short, receiving $232,045.51, still one of the better years we’ve ever had at Magna View. Our expenses for the year were $234,516.31 which includes $18,000 that was set aside for Capital Needs Fund, which is money set aside for emergency repairs and upgrades to our facilities (it stays in-house). The report also showed that we have $9,868.00 in our Building Fund, which is for our future building project. And we have $10,901.10 in the Magna View Missions Fund to use for missions work.

Keith Lawson gave a report on the upcoming Wild Game Festival (it’s more than a feast this year!) The event will be held on Saturday, April 18th beginning at 12 noon. More details will be coming in the near future.

Christina O’Brien, team leader for the Stewardship Team, presented two measures that will help our team leaders better track spending and make our financial records more transparent and accountable. Members who are purchasing on behalf of the church will now need to fill out a purchase form before making a purchase, that should be approved by the Team Leader over the designated budget item. Forms will be kept in the church office. Also, once the purchase is made, it will be recorded on a tracker form, (also kept in the office) along with the receipt from the purchase. All forms and files will be kept in the church office. If you are a team leader or have questions about the new procedure, contact Christina O’Brien. The new controls were approved by the church.

Keith Lawson made a motion that we sell fireworks for a fundraiser during the week of July 4th. We had great success last year, connecting with our community and raising money for our ministry. As we did last year, 10% of the profits will go to our Magna View Missions Fund, and 90% will go to our Building Fund. The motion was approved.

Representing the Kitchen Team, Keith also presented the idea of relocating our kitchen to the room that is currently Jim Ellis’ Sunday Morning Bible Study classroom (Keith had already conferred with Jim). This will give more space for the kitchen as well as open up more space in our current Fellowship Hall. After much discussion, Shawn Wilmoth made a motion that the Kitchen Team be granted permission to do the project, with a $5,000 cap on spending. Drawings will be made and approved by the Kitchen Team before work will begin. Keith already has much of the materials for the project donated and volunteer labor will be used (hint, hint). Shawn’s motion passed and the meeting was adjourned.

I am thankful for the family atmosphere of our meeting. Though we all didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything, we communicated in a spirit of love and respect, which is what being family is all about. And though we didn’t sing it last night, I “praise God from whom all blessings flow…”

Blessings,

George

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Several years ago I attended a ministry conference at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, led by Dr. Chris Stephens. I signed up for his leadership training, and received about a years worth of ministry insights and helps. The thing that has stuck with me the most was an introduction to something that was very new to me – a personal spiritual growth plan.

All of my life I have been a “planner” and was experienced at goal setting and “resolution making.” I had done it for virtually every area of my life – finances, school, work, family, etc…, but I had never thought of doing a spiritual growth plan. I guess I had the mindset that spiritual growth just happened in the course of life – kind of like growing older. Well, the truth was I was growing older spiritually, but I wasn’t growing up, at least not in a healthy, intentional way.

So for the last three years I have developed a personal spiritual growth plan for my year. I PRAYERFULLY set goals in different areas of spiritual disciplines and work toward those goals. I have learned that if I write out my goals and my plan, I am more likely to stick to it for a longer time period. I’d like to say that I reach all of my goals every year, but the truth is, I fall short in a lot of areas. But I don’t give up. I feel that I have experienced greater spiritual growth in the last three years, than in any three-year period in my life.

I will never reach a point where I no longer need to grow spiritually. As long as I am alive I will need to grow in my relationship with the Lord. And because my relationship with the Lord is THE most important relationship in my life, I will be intentional about strengthening and growing my relationship with Him. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (NKJV) I have tried and proven this promise time and again; I encourage you to try it as well.

Below is a sampling of a Spiritual Growth Plan based on Dr. Stephen’s book, The Plan of Your Life; use it as a guide to developing your own Personal Spiritual Growth Plan. Don’t try to do too much, but don’t sell yourself short either:

PERSONAL GROWTH PLAN

The number one command in the Bible is:“To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and all your mind.” The purpose of this plan is to help you accomplish God’s heart and your desire; to obey the first commandment.

Jude 20-21:“But you beloved, building yourself up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”

BIBLE READING –  Psalm 19:7-8: “The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

My recommendation is to read the entire Bible annually. Options: read straight through, Bible reading record, Chronological Bible, One-Year Bible, Youversion.com

BIBLE STUDY- 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17:“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of truth.” “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

Bible book(s), topics, doctrines, etc… that I will study this year:_____________________________________________________________

SCRIPTURE MEMORY –  Ps. 119:11:“Your word have I treasured in my heart, That I might not sin against you.”

______________ (# of verses annually) Use areas of growth you need: evangelism verses, prayer promises, faith (I would suggest the “Roman Road” to salvation: Rom. 3:10, 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9-10,13.)

MEDITATION –  Ps. 104:34; 119:97-99: “Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; as for me I shall be glad in the Lord.” “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation.”

___________________ (amount of time) Daily in the Scriptures, Names of God, doctrines, attributes of God, memory verses, etc.

PRAYER – I Sam. 12:23:“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.” 1 Thes. 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

Create a list of family, friends, co-workers, spiritual leaders, political leaders, church family, harvest of souls, revival, ministries, missionaries, etc.

FASTING Mt. 6:16 – “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” I would recommend starting with one meal and working your way up: one day, three days, seven days, longer. Plan for prayer times during the fast. Study Isa. 58 in preparation.

EVANGELISM –  Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. Create a list of people to pray for and share with.

BOOKS TO READ – _______________(# of books for the year) Consider topics, areas of interest or growth, areas of strengths or weaknesses (I recommend one out of every ten books be a positive attitude book), areas of professional proficiency, areas to stretch you.

CDs, DVDs, PODCASTS, BLOGS –  Prov. 4:23:“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Leadership, sermons, worship – make the best use of time in the car and travel.)

SERVING –  Jn. 13:14-15; I Pet. 4:10:“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Inside the church, out in the community, with the poor, visiting jail or prison, areas to which you feel called.

MISSION TRIPS –  Mt. 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

LIST AREAS IN YOUR SPIRITUAL WALK THAT NEED IMPROVEMENT:

“Your life is like a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow.” ~GOD

(This is part of the appendix for the book, “The Plan of Your Life.” – Dr. Chris Stephens.)