Posts Tagged MyChurchGrowth

Help Wanted … Under Qualified But Overwhelmed

by Rick Robinson

Did you ever feel like God has call waiting, kind of like your telephone, and He switches between the calls He wants to talk to—and you’re the one on hold? Here you are in the most difficult of situations, and God doesn’t seem to be concerned about it at all. If this description fits your life right now, you and God are in a great place to help each other. Yes—I said help each other. Let me explain. There are scores of stories in the Bible to illustrate this, but I have selected accounts of Moses as an example. 

God called upon Moses to help deliver the people out of Egypt. God did not need Moses, any more than He needs us, but He loves working together with us. He is not cold and impersonal, but a relationship oriented God. Trusting us with a task is one of the ways God draws us closer together. Even as God ask Moses to participate in the deliverance of His people, Moses feels under qualified.

Exodus 3:10-11

“Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”

God has great patience with Moses, showing Him miracles and proving His power, yet Moses continues to express his own feelings of being under qualified and overwhelmed, even begging the Lord to enlist someone else. 

Exodus 4:10

Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 

Have you ever made excuses about why you can’t do something for God? I am a pro, but He is not impressed with that part of my resume. As Moses surrenders to “help” God with this task, we can see the relationship transformed as he transfers his trust from his own ability over to confidence in God. If you want your relationship with God to prosper, you too will have to look at the truth of His ability, not your own. 

While the people are in the desert for what should have been a short journey, disobedience sends things sideways. There is no meat and fresh produce in the desert and the people grumble wishing they had not left Egypt. Moses is found questioning his own relationship with God, because he is looking to himself for answers. Once again, Moses is feeling under qualified and overwhelmed and perhaps overlooked. Have you ever felt that way? You’re in good company and not alone like you thought. 

Numbers 11:11-15

So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? “Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers’? “Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’ “I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. “So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.” 

Quail would migrate across the Sinai Peninsula in large numbers at certain times during the year, usually between March and April. God brought the birds over the camp of the Israelites with a great wind in the evening, and also wherever they camped for forty years, daily He dropped manna to the ground with the dew. Each family was to take what they needed with no leftovers. God made the manna unfit to eat overnight, so it was of no use trying to store up a supply. Daily trust in the Lord for provision was required. In case you wonder about it as you read, a measure of omer is about 2 liters. 

Exodus 16:16-24

This is what the Lord has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’ The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little. When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat. Moses said to them, “Let no man leave any of it until morning.” But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them. They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt. Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, then he said to them, “This is what the Lord meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. 

This was not the normal manna they were familiar with. It melted in the sun, it became foul overnight, and it could be worked into nutritional bread. This was not a normal substance that the people recognized, it was a miracle. 

Deuteronomy 8:3

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. 

If we want to live in the provision of God and share in deep fellowship with Him, we will need to take heed of these words the Prophet Isaiah wrote. 

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. 

Isaiah used this timeless picture of the heavens, which is a great illustration of the wonder of our God. We cannot even imagine the things He has created. The speed of light is our basic measurement for distance in space (the heavens). Light travels at some 186,000 miles per second. That means a beam of light could travel around the earth several times in one second. We don’t all own rockets, but most of us own a man made car. If you could drive your car non-stop to the sun, it would take over 160 years to get there, yet the light from the sun (God’s creation) reaches us in seconds. How great is your God? Are you still looking for provision on your own standard? Are you looking for a place to serve in your own ability or still making excuses of why you will fail? God wants to provide for you, and wants your help in some capacity. Most of all, God desires an intimate relationship with you. Did you know God has given you manna (bread) from heaven? Will you scoff and complain, or expect daily supply?

John 6:30-33

So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’ ” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 

You and I may be under qualified for certain things and we may be overwhelmed with others, but God is neither under qualified nor overwhelmed. His word will accomplish everything as He desires, and you are a part of that plan—we all are. 

Isaiah 55:10-11

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. 

Comments off

Want To Lose The Wait?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Many people would like to lose weight, but many more may want to lose “wait”, although they may not think about it in those terms. Waiting on God can be a frustrating thing. Imagine with me for a moment of a world without waiting. No smells of the fine cooking coming from the kitchen as you wait in anticipation of the flavors dancing in your mouth. No waiting in anticipation as a child waiting to open the Christmas gifts. Perhaps no one wants to wait in line to buy the anticipated gifts anyway. Don’t bother enjoying that movie night, the ending is now instant. No waiting seems like such a loss of treasured memories. You have accepted the fact that next Tuesday cannot arrive until then. All of history would need be condensed into the now without this thing called waiting.

Would all the prophecies of the Bible be erased (since there was no waiting) and be updated by telling a historic perspective? The vision came immediately and you most certainly have heard about it by this time. The promise came without delay, and if there was such a thing as waiting–but there is not, I would then look forward to the anticipation of the next thing in line for me.

When it comes to waiting on God, we think we know best about the timing of it all. If we never had to wait on something from God, would it void this thing we know as faith? Faith is not a lonely thing you use to get what you want; it is an interactive thing that is rewarded by waiting on God’s perfect time to deliver His promise.

Habakkuk 2:3
For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.

We should be able to be at peace with the wait, since it is God himself that is delivering us through the situation. The battles you face are won or lost in the wait time first, long before they become part of our physical world.

Isaiah 40:31
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

When our expectations and desires are counted all lost, it is most often because we failed to manage the wait. Inspiration to wait on God is the spiritual truth that has not yet been experienced in the natural–nevertheless it is just as real. Do you really want to lose wait? Can you see what an impossible thing that is and how interactive waiting on God is meant to be? Enjoy the anticipation of what God will do next as you wait—knowing it will be in His time–the way you wait on the natural events in your life.

James 5:7
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

Tragedy or Treasure?

by Rev. Rick Robinson

I don’t minimize the loss of life in the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, and I suffered no personal loss, but can anything good come out of a tragedy? Immediately after the September 11 attacks, millions of Americans made changes in their spiritual priorities. Residents of the New York City market are more spiritually active today than they were before the attack with an increase in church attendance of about 15%. In fact, the percentage of residents in the New York area who are unchurched declined while the national average of unchurched adults increased.

Going to church is not the most important thing in life, a relationship with Jesus Christ is, but the tracking data includes all religions. The percentage of New York residents who say they will go to Heaven because they have accepted Christ and been forgiven of their sins has increased from 20% to 32% as compared to 40% of adults nationwide who can be classified as born again.

Although researchers say they cannot determine what caused this change for certain, there is no doubt that God can turn a tragedy into a treasure. Look at the attitude of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own brothers.

Genesis 50:20-21
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. “Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Tragedies seem to open and close windows of receptivity quickly for most people. You may have heard of the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, which places a number on the events in our lives and how they can affect our health. The death of a spouse is 100 on the scale; being fired from work a 47, and the foreclosure of a mortgage 30, for example. If your total score is over 300 you have a high risk of the stress making you ill, while the score below 150 has a low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future. I don’t know how reliable this test is, but I do know people with a higher stress number tend to be more receptive to the gospel when I go door to door.

I know it is not easy to face the trials that come our way. I have been guilty of whining when things don’t go my way. We can take hope that God is in the middle of the trouble with us, for He is faithful—even when we are not.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

While we know we have placed our hope in Christ alone, it is important to remember those who have no such hope. They do not know the tragedy they face can turn into treasure. You must have that vision for them, before they can have that vision for themselves. In your quest to rescue those suffering by bringing the hope of Christ to them, you will also be storing up treasures in Heaven for yourself.

Luke 12:33-34
“Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

It is a matter of where your heart is in the matter. Tragedy touches the rich and the poor—there is no economic safety net. When Peter began to compare himself to the rich man who would not give up his trust in riches to follow Christ, Jesus made it clear it was trust in Him alone that would bring true riches.

Mark 10:28-30
Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, “who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

Ask God to give you a vision for the lost around you, and store up for yourself treasures that can be enjoyed forever.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

Who Do You Trust?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Everybody lives by some form of faith. Many people have more faith in themselves, their job, or the government (other people) for example, than they do in God. The difference between the Christian and the unconverted individual is not if they have faith, but where is their faith. The subject of faith can be a difficult thing to understand. What hinders God from working in our life is not his lack of power or desire, but our lack of faith.

Matthew 13:58
And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

When people place their trust in anything other than God, that thing (or person) becomes an idol. The people of Israel did just that when they turned their back to God instead of their face.

Jeremiah 2:5
Thus says the Lord: “What injustice have your fathers found in Me, That they have gone far from Me, Have followed idols, And have become idolaters?

If you place your trust in other things, God may leave you alone to allow those things to meet your needs. That is a choice we all make for ourselves.

Jeremiah 2:28
But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves? Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble; For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.

The state of America concerns me when our President states “America is not a Christian nation”. He may change his god, but he does not get an endorsement to change mine. Only I have the power to change where my trust is.

Jeremiah 2:11
Has a nation changed its gods, Which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory For what does not profit.

What about you? Have you decided to change gods? How can you know you are living by faith? Let me give you a few basic guidelines to check your faith by.

First ask yourself if you are making the decision to glorify God or to please yourself. Those two answers may or may not match. If you are asking the Lord to do the impossible, it will bring much more glory to Him when it happens.

Matthew 19:26
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The next thing has to do with God’s timing. Am I rushing ahead  or am I willing to wait? If you can be honest with yourself and say you haven’t got the patients to wait, be cautious. This comes from the fear of being overcome by disappointment, and you make an emotional decision instead of a spiritual one.

Romans 10:11
The Scriptures say that no one who has faith will be disappointed,
CEV

Always ask yourself if you can defend what you are doing from the Word of God?
I see people make comments on social network places like Facebook that do not line up with God’s word, yet they claim He is involved. That is not possible since God will not violate His own word. (Don’t cut me off your social networks now!) Remember that true faith is always found in line with scripture.

Romans 10:17
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

After you come this far towards making a decision, consider if there is joy and peace within? Don’t skip to this one too fast, or you may be emotionally deceived, the other guidelines must line up first. When you have the heart of God on something, you will have peace available to you.

Romans 15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is hope for you in your situation because He is the God of hope. The peace and joy comes through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit and is not depending on anything else. You will also find giving praise and thanks to God is an important part of God’s peace. This is one of my favorite scriptures and has sustained me through many trials.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I pray this will help you to see if you are living by faith or if you have changed your gods, and how you can obtain true peace while you wait on the Lord.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

How to figure your church growth rate

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Growth rates are an important part of the diagnostic tools we have in our church growth toolbox. Part of developing your church growth strategies will be understanding growth rates.

First let me clarify what numerical growth is. These numbers we count are much more than statistics. Each one has a name and God knows them, loves them, and desires to have a relationship with them. Trying to separate evangelism and discipleship is like trying to slice a quarter in half so you will have 50 cents. You do not. We must reach people for Jesus, but also assimilate them into a loving church and disciple them. These numbers are only a tool to keep us on track, as a physician would use a thermometer and his other instruments to diagnose a patient.

Each church is either growing, on a plateau, or declining. Eighty percent of the churches in America are not growing in fact eight churches a day close in the United States and Canada. When we do a consultation we look at the AGR (Annual Growth Rate) AAGR (Average Annual Growth Rate) and DGR (Decade Growth Rate).

Before I show you how to figure your growth rate, let me explain what we are looking for. In church growth terms, a church is not growing unless it increases by five percent a year. On the other side, a church is not in a decline unless it is losing five percent a year. Everything in that ten percent window (five percent plus–and five percent minus) is considered a plateau. Most of the churches that have partnered with us and have a membership to our associate services are growing at twenty percent. The smaller a church is, the easier it is for that number to be higher. It is not unusual for us to be able to double many of the churches that have 50 or less in worship in twelve months time. My home church, Idlewild Baptist Church, here in Tampa, has around 7500 in worship. Growing five percent is a lot more work. You get the idea, and have a few thoughts already about your own church.

Now let’s look at these church growth tools and get started on the path to new church growth ideas, with old church growth principles. The Annual Growth Rate (AGR) Not to insult your intelligence, is used to tell us how much numerical growth has occurred from one year to the next, and what the trend will most likely be, if no changes are made.

At Church growth Associates, we have weekly tracking and accountability for the churches we partner with, when it comes to worship attendance. We want to make adjustments as needed and not wait until the end of the year to figure out what went wrong (or right). In my examples I use attendance, so it can’t be said we have more members than there are people. Church membership is important, but attendance is a great measure of our effectiveness. You can use members for your calculations if you like, use any criterion you desire, just keep consistent with the formula from year to year.

1. Subtract the earlier year’s average attendance, from the later year’s average attendance.
2. Divide the answer you get by the earlier year.
3. Multiply the answer you get by 100 to change the decimal to percent.
4. The answer is your AGR.

Let’s give an illustration of this example. Gracious Church had an average attendance of 125 last year. This year Gracious Church had an average of 180 in attendance.

This year    180
Last year  – 125
Increase      55

An increase of 55 in worship, divided by the earlier year average (125) is .44 times 100 (to convert to percent). The AGR for Gracious Church is 44% this year.

Now go back for the last ten years, and get the AGR for each one. This will give you a look at the trend your church is on, and where it most likely will be in ten years if no changes are made.

If you don’t have Microsoft Office or PowerPoint, you will find a link to the open source alternative, Open Office in our library you can own at no charge. This will help you to see a graph of your progress.

You can use the same formula as above to find your DGR if you desire, but I recommend working with the numbers from the past ten years. We use older history only when there are more questions that need to be answered. Ten years is sufficient in most cases.

You are invited to check out the vast resources for church growth on our main website. Here are just a few.

Church Experience Project

The Un-churched by State

Adding Another Worship Service

Check out our Library

If you would like to see if Church Growth Associates could help you with your strategies for church growth, tell us your story, maybe we can help.

Rick Robinson

 

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

How much space do I need?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Church Growth and Sunday School Space may go together more than you think. One question often asked is how much space is needed when planning a Sunday School? The needs of a church will vary according to size, and age distribution. In an average church the babies and toddlers may amount to three percent, while your church may have a greater number or even none at all. The space needed for a Sunday School will vary, but here is guide you can use when planning your small groups. This guideline is a strategy for church growth, you can get by with less if you have too, but if you sacrifice these ratios you may effect attendance and future church growth.

Age Group    Square Feet / Person
Babies -Kindergarten    30-35
Primary – Middle School    25-30
High School    20-25
Adults    10-15

To maximize the utility you get from existing buildings, you may need to do some measuring. I have a digital tape measure I use for such a project. You can purchase one at Lowes; they are relatively inexpensive and can save a lot of time. I have seen rooms that have not been used for a while with things stacked up in them, and this tool will avoid your having to move things around or climb over them, since it just pings off the wall. You can also work alone if you have this tool, and many pastors don’t always have someone available to help.

Once you figure the square footage of the rooms you will have available; you can use the guidelines provided to see how many people can be accommodated in each room.

Determine the ministry God wants you to do, then adopt your resources to that mission. If you are a church that operates a school during the week in your facilities, I suggest you don’t force your members, and particularly your guest, to sit in your small groups using a school desk. Get creative; get some comfortable adult accommodating chairs in those rooms even if it means more set up and take down time.

Rarely if ever can any one factor be the cause for the growth or decline of a church. It requires a combination of factors to develop a growing church. This combination of factors is called the “growth mix”. Every church has a growth mix, be it a poor one that causes decline or a good one that causes growth. When our church growth consultants diagnose a church to discover the growth mix, we use church growth ratios and principles as a guideline. When it comes to small groups and church growth, keep the following church growth principles in mind.

Every small group, including Sunday School, will eventually close itself off. This is called saturation. Saturation can be caused by many variables, but the most powerful influence is time itself. For this reason, one of the most powerful strategies we have for growth of the Sunday School, or other small group, is creating new units, or classes on a regular basis. Twenty percent of your small groups should have been started in the last two years.

Reclaiming wasted space, freshening up rooms and the environment presented by the condition and cleanliness of the rooms and properly allocating space can be a boost for Sunday School and church growth. The bottom line will be better assimilation of people into a caring church fellowship.

Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant with Church Growth Associates.

If you would like help with strategies for church growth, click here. One of our church growth consultants will call you with no obligation to see if we can help you grow your church.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

The Power of One

By Rev. Rick Robinson

When everything is going your way it is easy to feel proud of yourself and have hope for the future. Our confidence in our ability to accomplish something can lead us to be proud of where we are going or how far we have come. Our pride can also cause us to put other people down, overlook our own faults, and lift us to a position that may not be a reality. This is caused by ignorance of the future as we arrogantly predict how life will turn out—good or bad, based on the power of one—that is ourselves.

On the other hand, doubting our ability to accomplish all that we hope for can lead us into the feeling of everything being against us. Maybe you feel you don’t have the talent, skills or the right contacts. You’re in good company; many godly people in the Bible felt that way. Who was Moses trusting in when he had this conversation with God.

Exodus 4:10-13

Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”

Maybe you are one that feels God will do things for other people but not for you. What do you base that on? No matter what is taking place in your surroundings it may be time to re-asses priorities. When pride overlooks our failure, it may overlook many of our sins. It is easy to point out sins that are committed, but it is much easier to overlook the sins of omission, that is—the things we ought to do but yet do not. It is easier to detect wrong than the absence of right. For example, our plans should demonstrate our dependence on the Lord, not ourselves. When we do not trust in the Lord it is a sin of omission. Likewise, Christ calls every believer to be a witness for Him. When we do not share our faith, it is a sin of omission. When we avoid doing anything our Lord has asked us to do, it is just as much a sin as any sin committed.

James 4:13-17

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.  Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

James not only tells us we must be watchful for the sin of omission, but we also see that a man who brags about future plans while ignoring God’s sovereignty is foolish. I am guilty of this more frequently than I like to admit, for my pride hides it well. God may determine that at the present time, tribulation is a greater need than attaining certain goals.

Romans 5:1-4

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

When we consider the power of one, it is important to understand that it must be Jesus, not ourselves. If a relationship with Christ were automatic, we would not have been given the great commission to share our faith. If it could be done without God’s word, we would not need the Bible. If we could do it alone, we would not need prayer—or the church. Being a Christian is all about a relationship with Jesus Christ. It only happens when we transfer our trust in the power of one from ourselves—to Jesus Christ, regardless of our surroundings.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

Acquainted or acquitted?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Once when Jesus went to the region of Caesarea Philippi, the question was raised in conversation with the disciples about whom the people were saying that he is. Simon Peter spoke up and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” If you were asked that question, how would you answer? Would it be an intellectually learned answer, or would it be a life-changed testimony to the fact? There are many people today who are confused about the question of who is Jesus. Some say he was created, just like Lucifer. That would make the two of them brothers. Some have a form of Godliness in their life, but yet all the testimonies of what they claim God has done for them is used to point to a particular “true church”. Some believe he is the Son of the living God–but then so does the devil.

James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

If we have met the real Jesus Christ on a personal basis, then Jesus is the infinite God-man and there is no other that he could be.

John 1:1,14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Does your life express a life changed meeting with Jesus Christ or just an intellectual understanding of who Jesus is? There is a real difference between the two. What is your testimony when you answer the question about who is Jesus? Are you acquainted or acquitted?

Now let me pose another thought for you here. Suppose people were asked that same question about you? Who would the people say that you are? I am not talking about being famous or popular here, but about your character. Is the joy of being acquitted from your sin bringing genuine change to your life? If there is no difference in your you life, is it because you are simply acquainted with who Jesus is? Your circumstances will give you a difficult path to walk at times. When that happens who would the people say that you are? When you are walking through difficult times, you may feel all alone–deserted by the one who saved you as though you are only acquainted. I am guilty of that many times over. Jesus will not always make your difficult times to go away, but you will not have to walk that difficult path alone, if you are acquitted.

Matthew 16:13-16
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

 

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off