Saturday, December 3, 2011

Effective Evangelism

My youth pastor has been teaching 1 Peter to us this fall, and the study is called "Effective Evangelism".  I wanted to share some of his points with you from what I have taken notes of.  This is the intro and the second night.
1 Peter 1:1-2 "Introduction"
     Peter is the author, and he was an apostle and a disciple.  In Mark 1:3, it says he was married.  John 21:15-19 says that Jesus commanded Peter to take care of the sheep.  Peter was killed by being hung on a cross upside down because he believed that he was not worthy to die like Christ.
     The audience is called the "elect exiles". Elect means that they were set apart by God, and Exile means that they were a sojourner or foreigner to this world because they were not of it.  They lived in modern-day Turkey and were under the Roman rule which was persecuting them left and right.  Christians of that day were viewed as a threat.
     The application is about being a part of God's plan.  We are sanctified through Christ which means we grow and become complete in Him.  We are to be obedient and love God.  We show Him that we love Him through obedience.  We are to remain faithful in worshiping Him.

1 Peter 1:3-12 "Praise God"
     Praise God for salvation.  Salvation is from God according to His mercy.  The past-- what happened to bring salvation?  Jesus' death and resurrection.  It cleansed us and we are now justified.  The present is sanctification which is how we should be living.  We should be in the Word daily and having a daily walk with the Lord.  The future-- glorification.  It's when Christ comes back and takes the Christians to heaven so we will praise Him forever and ever (totally awesome!).  He gives us a living hope and He has given us a life and an inheritance.  The inheritance is not of this world, imperishable, undefiled (perfect, holy), it won't fade away, and He gives us protection until redemption.
     Praise God for and through trials.  How can you show joy?  Through praise and prayer.  We should  have joy in the good and bad times.  We prove our faith by rejoicing, and our faith becomes refined through the trials.
     Praise God for faith.  Hebrews 11 is all about faith.  Faith is believing in things unseen.  We have a personal relationship with Christ.

Praise God for the proof of His Word.The proof => all of the people who wrote the Bible wrote about the same central theme-- all of their prophecies came true in Christ.  Isaiah 53.  If the Bible wasn't true, then all of the martyrs and Christians wasted their lives.

1 Peter is an encouragement to praise God.

Catching up

Hey everyone!
It's been a while since I have posted.  I'm sorry, but things have been super busy, and I didn't really know what to say.  Now I do.
   
      I want to praise the Lord for doing wonderful things in my church and youth group.  Many of the youth in my church have made decisions for Christ in one way or another.  Many feel the call to missions or full-time ministry, and others have accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord.  Still others came to rededicate their walk with Him.  God is so awesome!  The youth girls have started a Bible study before the regular service on Wednesdays, and we have learned a lot.  Soon, we will start Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free. I have been asked to lead parts of it, which is really awesome!
   
     School has started again, and we are almost halfway through the school year.  Time flies too quickly.  I enjoyed catching up with my friends, and my work load is insane.  I love it though!  I have had a chance to give my teacher a really good book called Do Hard Things, and as far as I know, she loves it.  I hope that it will cause her to look into God's Word.  By the way, if you haven't read Do Hard Things, you need to! It's so good.  God has watched over me this year at school, and I am so grateful for that. I will be published soon in Creative Communications which I could have never done on my own.  God has helped me in my writing lately which is so cool!

     I hope that this year I will be able to write more on my blog and share what God is doing in my life.  God is so good.  All the time.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A God-given opportunity

God is amazing! I was going through trials, and God ordained that I would be asked to write a magazine article for Lighted Lamp. He works in mysterious ways. I learned a lot while writing this. Here it is:
             1 Peter 4:12-19 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share in Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the out come for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’ Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
            Christians are refined by fire.  There are two reasons for this.  One is that we have many impurities that must be burned off, and two is that our trials are used in our testimonies to reach out to Christians and non-Christians alike.
Most of you hopefully know what gold is. Do you know how gold becomes as beautiful as we view it in stores? It is heated up in a blazing hot fire until the impurities melt. That sounds a little crazy right? To heat something up just to melt a tiny impurity sounds like overkill, but if you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on one small piece of precious metal it better be perfect right? Well we aren't metal, but God "melts us" time and time again. If the gold were alive, then the heat would hurt.  It’s not fun to go through a burning furnace, but it is necessary. In James 1 it says that we are blessed if we go through trials.  Because He is the Master Goldsmith, He created us and wanted us to be in His image. Then we chose to sin and developed impurities, but the amazing thing is, is that God is also the customer. He buys us back even though we have impurities. Then He melts us over and over to rid us of those stains. He then "finishes" us with Christ's perfect gold so God doesn't see us as imperfect. We have to endure the melting process to become complete. In James 1:2, it tells us to "Count it all joy as we go through various trials." If we trust God to help us see ourselves through the painful meltings, we become complete in Him. I long for the day when we are completely pure and without deformities. I understand that trials are hard, but looking back I see that afterwards I am closer to Christ.  If the gold were alive, then the heat would hurt.  It’s not fun to go through a burning furnace, but it is necessary. In James 1 it says that we are blessed if we go through trials.  When I hear “testing” or “trials” I think about pain.  God knows they are painful, but He uses them for us to grow.  He brings them into our lives to complete us.  If we do not go through a test, then we do not grow.  As you grow in Christ, the tests become harder. 
If the gold were alive, then the heat would hurt.  It’s not fun to go through a burning furnace, but it is necessary. In James 1 it says that we are blessed if we go through trials. When I hear “testing” or “trials” I think about pain.  God knows they are painful, but He uses them for us to grow.  He brings them into our lives to complete us.  If we do not go through a test, then we do not grow.  As you grow in Christ, the tests become harder. 

Christians cannot give up because other people are watching, and if Christians give up, then they do not have as effective of a witness or ministry.  As one goes through trials, they have others they can minister to during the hard times.  Also God gives us those who are in our church to minister to us.  Plus, unbelievers are watching us at all times. Therefore, we must be joyful during the hard times.  James 1 says “To count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds.” Our joy in the painful, hard times shows that God is working in us and through us. 
I believe that God works through us the most during trials. This is because we cannot endure the trials on our own.  We must run to God as we experience the trial.  Another word for trials is test.  This is a test we must study for. God’s Word is our study guide.  But even though we study for it, we cannot make the grade on our own. The Teacher gave us the Study Guide that covers all of the tests. Why don’t we use it? On top of the Study Guide, He also gave us the answer during the test which is run to Him.  He brings us through it.  The only problem is that we are tempted to “cheat”. The problem with that is the person we cheat off of is Satan, and he deliberately gives us the wrong answers! So why do we ignore the true answer? It is because Satan looks like “the smart kid”. He is, but he is wise in the ways to destroy us. 
Christians should remember that they can run to God because they cannot do it on their own. Trials will come.  We can minister to others through the trials, and trials bring purity. The Bible is here for Christians to use in their daily lives.  There is hope because God will lead us through. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Have you heard the sirens?

I have heard the sirens. I mean tornado sirens. They are a bit scary. The sirens are not meant to scare us, but they are instead made to warn us and guide our actions to safety. God gives us spiritual "tornado sirens" in our lives. When we begin to stray into the storms of life, His sirens are there to tell us to seek shelter in His arms. What happens if we don't listen? Others don't, so why should we? Have you heard about what happened in Alabama over the past week? Over 300 people died. Many heard the sirens, but did they listen? One lady heard the sirens, and she acted. She and her dog flew 75 yards in a bathtub.... and survived. She took shelter. If we listen to the sirens and take shelter, we might end up 75 yards away from where we started. We will be a little shaken, beaten, and bruised, but we will be alive. We will live to tell others about how God brought us through the storms alive. Maybe more people will hear the sirens if we warn those people. What if others hear and want to know what the sirens mean, but no one tells them? We are then responsible for their death. We must be willing. We would want someone else to explain to us, wouldn't we? If you are a Christian, I encourage you to pray daily for an opportunity to share. If you have no idea about what this means, then ask me or another Christian friend or pastor you know and trust. We are more than willing to explain who God is and why He is warning us about the storm.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Driver's Ed

I started Driver's Ed yesterday.  Awesome, right?  :D I'm excited, but scared at the same time.  I will have to watch what I am doing while watching others which is very hard.  It has made me think about important things though.  Every few minutes someone dies in a car crash.  So if you have been reading this someone has been sent to eternity about now. That scares me! What if I accidentally send someone to eternity because of something I do while controlling the car? What if someone crashes into me and sends me or my passengers into eternity? I am confident in my salvation, but I can't know other people's hearts. That is the reason Jesus commanded Christians to go and tell the Gospel. Gospel means "Good News". It can mean the difference of being separated from a Holy God forever or spending eternity praising His Name. The choice is made by the individual who hears, but what about all of the people who have never heard? We are sent to go to those people. As of today there is still a tribe of natives in Brazil who do not know we exist!!  That probably means that they have no earthly clue about the One True God. That's sad. As I start driving, I think about really serious things. I did not really think that I could possibly die or that someone could die when that person got into a car next. When a car crashes into a tree at the speed of 50-55 miles per hour, at seven-tenths of a second the driver dies. At seven-tenths of a second that man, woman, boy, or girl is blasted into eternity leaving their bodies behind so their families can mourn. Some families have hope, but many do not. As a Christian, we are called to share the news of a hope. I know this post is very sad in some parts, but it is a reminder of  the duty of a Christian and that you are not guaranteed tomorrow. We have only right now. So while this is somber, it is also filled with the promise of hope to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring is here!

Easter. Pink. Candy. Jesus. Flowers. New. Clean. Fresh. Happy. Longer days. Spring break. The Cross.
These are a few things I think about when March comes to begin spring. I love spring!! :) It is my favorite time of year! The most important thing about spring is Jesus. We celebrate Easter in spring. Easter is about Jesus, who came as a perfect God/man, to die on a cross for our sins. You see, we all have sinned (done/thought bad things that do not please a holy God). Thankfully, it doesn't end there. I do not serve a dead God. He rose again on the third day! He is still alive now. He intercedes on our behalf at the right hand of the Father. So amazing! If we accept Him as Savior and Lord all of this applies to us. So if you have received Christ as your Savior then think about this: if God loved us enough to allow His Son to die, then why don't we tell others about Him? This is just something I have wondered. If I love a God like this, then why shouldn't I be willing to tell others at any cost?    

Monday, March 7, 2011

Trials... they hurt but help...

Most of you hopefully know what gold is. Do you know how gold becomes as beautiful as we view it in stores? It is heated up in a blazing hot fire until the impurities melt. That sounds a little crazy right? To heat something up just to melt a tiny impurity sounds like overkill, but if you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on one small piece of precious metal it better be perfect right? Well we aren't metal, but God "melts us" time and time again. He is the Master Goldsmith so He creates us and wants us to be in His image. Then we chose to sin and developed impurities, but the amazing thing is, is that God is also the customer. He buys us back even though we have impurities. Then He melts us over and over to rid us of those stains. He then "finishes" us with Christ's perfect gold so God doesn't see us as imperfect. We have to endure the melting process to become complete. In James 1:2 It tells us to "Count it all joy as we go through various trials." If we trust God to help us see ourselves through the painful meltings, we become complete in Him. I long for the day when we are completely pure and without deformities. I understand that trials are hard, but looking back I see that afterwards I am closer to Christ.  This song goes along with what I've said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKonnpA71yE But more importantly the Bible goes along with what I typed. Read James 1 and 1 Peter 4:12-19.