Tag Archives: missional living

Missional Ideas For Your Family Thanksgiving | Gather and Share

25 Nov

thanks2“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” –2 Corinthians 9:11

Consider the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, do you picture family sitting at the table together breaking bread, connecting, sharing, reflecting? Maybe your Thanksgiving gathering will be football focused or a time when barely suppressed familial animosity simmers rather than the gravy.

No matter what tablescape you picture odds are someone at the table, no matter the emotional ambiance, will not be a believer. They may grasp the Pilgrim story and Black Friday deals but the deeper meaning of offering up thanksgiving and praise for God’s call and provision may be a challenge. Incorporate them into thanksgiving during this time when the opportunity exists to be publicly, outwardly, and vocally thankful. 

“One of the best things we can do for our family is to help them enjoy giving thanks..,” writes Alex Absalom in the article that follows…

10 MISSIONAL IDEAS FOR YOUR FAMILY THANKSGIVING

“Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” 1 Timothy 4:4

Thankfulness is a spiritual matter because it ultimately produces trust in God.

As I take my eyes off my complaints about what I don’t have, I start to count the many blessings that I do have. This in turn causes me to stop and ponder the source of all that goodness – is it purely random ‘luck’, or is God personally at work in my life? And if Jesus is the source, how does that change my perspective on my future needs and challenges?

That’s why thanksgiving is a wonderful gateway for those who are far from God. As someone recognizes that Jesus is the source of all that is good – which is what happens in giving thanks – so that person learns to acknowledge Him and His goodness.

For the remainder of the article: 10 Missional Ideas For Your Family Thanksgiving | Verge Network.

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Keeping It Real: The Truth about Authenticity | Her.meneutics |(Part 2)

12 Nov

authentic_christianity_logo

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” –1 Peter 1:7

What does authentic Christianity mean? The following definition from Sharon Hodde Miller offers a starting point,

“First, authenticity is a discipline that requires time. It cannot be flipped on like a light switch, and it is not maintained without work…second…it can only be had in Christ.”  

Miller posits the idea that authenticity is rooted in Christ.

God opens our eyes to our sins, to the self-deception, to the things in our lives that are not of him. Then he transforms us, conforming us to the only perfect human being who ever lived. In Christ, we stop operating according to the constraints of social expectations, personal insecurities, and lies. Rather than live in ways that are subhuman, we finally live in a manner worthy of God’s vision for humanity.”

Irenaeus (an early Church apologist and theologian) noted, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive; and to be alive consists in beholding God.” Christian authenticity is expressed when the, “…divine life of God living in our soul…” (Pastor Burris) produces fundamental changes.

“There are no real personalities apart from God. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most ‘natural’ men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been; how gloriously different are the saints.

But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away ‘blindly’ so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality; but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether.” –C.S. Lewis

We are made new and know God when we have the nature of God indwelling that accompanies believing the truth. We desire to live in fellowship with others who share this phenomena. We seek to magnify His presence through the honing of spiritual disciplines (Bible intake, meditation, fasting, prayer, and worship). Our focus and desires change and this is exuded in a real way as we seek to glorify God and share this Good News with others.

The following excerpt outlines 5 points related to authenticity:

(1) Authenticity proclaims the reality of the Bible.

In Numbers 13, God commands Moses to send 12 spies into the land of Canaan. Forty days later, they come back with fruit and a report.

Ten of the men tell it like they see it: fortified cities, strong people, and a fear of being squashed like bugs. Two of the men tell it like God sees it: “Let us go up at once and take possession for we are well able to overcome it.”

If the spies came to our churches today, which group of men would be praised as “authentic”?

Being authentic means that God and his Word define what is real.

Last Sunday, I had an imperfect experience of corporate worship. The kids were squirmy, the sanctuary was hot, and my mind wandered. That’s the truth.

But the Scripture adds an even greater truth to my experience. God, the Creator, declares that worship is good. Therefore, by faith, I declare it good too.

Whatever we say about our experiences, our report must also reflect God’s truth.

(2) Authenticity doesn’t excuse sin.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s phenomenally popular Eat, Pray, Love was the memoir of a woman seeking an authentic life. Its first page bears the motto: “Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.”

But for Gilbert, living authentically includes adultery, hedonism, blasphemy, and so on.

Gilbert’s type of authenticity is easy for Christians to reject. Her sins are “obvious.” But are we on guard against more subtle sins?

Recently, in “The Double-Reach of Self-Righteousness,” Tullian Tchividjian cautioned a generation of Christians who say, “That’s right, I know I don’t have it all together and you think you do; I’m know I’m not good and you think you are. That makes me better than you.'” Pride is not authentic.

Selfishness, love of men’s praise, lack of joy can all lurk, undetected, around our authentic edges.

I have a friend who wants me to be authentic. She wants to know about my arguments with my husband, the sin of my children, and what I dislike about church. For her, authenticity seems to involve not only removing my own mask but exposing the sins of others, too. This is unkind. Everything that is done in the name of authenticity must also be done in the name of a holy Christ.

(3) Authenticity seeks the good of the Body.

In 1969, Hillary Rodham (now Clinton) gave a speech at Wellesley’s commencement. Her remarks champion authentic conversation about women’s struggles in a male-dominated world.

I have to admire her kind of authenticity, for she was promoting authenticity for the sake of a common cause. She wanted these women to be authentic so that all women could have a better life.

Christian authenticity is likewise other-focused.

We live transparently, not to unload our own burdens and thus walk more lightly alone, but to intentionally share the burdens of others and carry them to the same grace that liberated us.

(4) Authenticity honors wisdom.

Christians seeking to be authentic rightly value humility. We recognize that we are broken.

But sometimes, in our quest to avoid the appearance of pride, we question our God-given ability to shine the light of wisdom.

Singer-songwriter Christa Wells expresses this in a song: “So friends don’t take me wrong on those days when I sound too sure / Of the things I say.” Wells writes insightful meditations on the Christian life, but she is intentionally tentative.

This habit has a long root in the spirit of the postmodern age, in which all truth is elusive and dogmatism is the unforgiveable sin.

But the godly life is not merely a pooling of experiences; it is the confident application of God’s truth to individual circumstances. We have the Greater-Than-Solomon, who gives wisdom liberally to all who ask. We honor the Giver by using his valuable gift. Seeking wisdom and speaking wisdom must have a place in an authentic life.

(5) Authenticity points ahead to a perfected future.

Every pilgrimage has a final destination. Christians who are authentic about the struggles of this life should also be authentic about the perfection of the next.

In Lewis’s The Great Divorce, travelers from hell step off a bus onto heaven’s grass. It is so razor-sharp, so real, that it cuts their tender feet: “The men were as they had always been … it was the light, the grass, the trees that were different; made of some different substance, so much solider than things in our country that men were ghosts by comparison.” (p 21)

For Christians, our true self is found in Christ, and we are on a pilgrimage to become more like him. As 1 John 3:2 says: “We are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet appeared.” A greater reality awaits.

So, like Israelites singing the Psalms of Ascent, we ought to look up from our dusty feet and ahead to the even more authentic glories of Zion and her King.

That’s for real.

Excerpted from: Keeping It Real: The Truth about Authenticity | Her.meneutics | Christianitytoday.com

Additional links:

Real, Authentic Authenticity | Her.meneutics | Christianitytoday.com

Taft Avenue Community Church / Resources / Sermons

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Pilgrimage Growth Guide): Donald S Whitney: 9781576830277: Amazon.com: Books

 

 

LifeWay Women All Access — 10 Ways to Meet Women Where They Are

23 Aug

life“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” –Matthew 18:20

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” — 1 Peter 4:8-10

10 Ways to Meet Women Where They Are

By Mary Margaret Collingsworth

We’re constantly trying to find new ways to reach women where they are, and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult. As culture shifts, so do the needs of women. No matter what your age may be, women are still women and we are always going to need other women in our lives. Here are 10 ways to meet women where they are:

  1. Don’t assume anything. We often look at women and assume that they already have enough friends or they don’t have enough time. Looks can be deceiving! Maybe she has a lot of acquaintances, but is longing for a real friend. It could be you!
  2. Ask. Ask her to go places with you and be in your life. The worst thing they can do is say, “No.”
  3. Keep asking. Unless someone tells you to stop asking, keep extending the ask. Sometimes it just takes a few attempts and the right thing to grab her attention. Don’t just quit asking because she turned you down the first time.
  4. Do life together. One of the sweetest parts of friendship is knowing the day-to-day happenings of the other women in your life. The mundane can be, well, mundane, and it  can be so much more rich in community. This also happens in the good, the bad, and the ugly times. Life is messy, and we all need other women in our lives who just know us to walk with us through it all.
  5. Be real. Last week, I heard Pete Wilson (pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville) say, “Authenticity is the cry of all, but the game of few.” While we often claim authenticity, we still try to prove ourselves and often end up being someone we’re not. Just be you, and she’ll love you for it.
  6. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Some of my dearest friends are ones that I initially thought I had nothing in common with, but was so wrong. When my friend Christie and I met while I was in college, she was a newlywed and I learned that she had majored in Math in college. I was single and lets just face it… I still hate math. I literally thought we had nothing in common except for Jesus, but boy, was I wrong! Nine years later, I’m in the airport waiting to board a plane to visit her and her family (5 kids!) and couldn’t love her more, even though our everyday lives look so different.
  7. Pray for her. Don’t just ask how you can pray for her… actually pray for her and pray with her if the Holy Spirit leads you to. Be willing to go to battle with her through prayer, whether she ever knows it or not.
  8. Speak truth. The truth can hurt, but find ways to speak it in love. Be honest, but be kind in how you approach challenging conversations and situations. It can feel risky, but seek the Lord before you speak. Make sure you’re not speaking out of your flesh, but you’re listening to the Holy Spirit. My closest friends are the ones who are willing to speak truth into my life.
  9. Love her right where she is. It’s not our job to fix anyone or change her, but we are called to love her. Be the kind of woman who is steadfast in her life, whether she has a relationship with Jesus or not. Walk with her, pray for her, and just love on her.
  10. Be Jesus to her. Take her a meal. Watch her kids. Listen to her. Cry with her. Laugh with her. Show up. Just be there. When you can, put your needs aside and just be Jesus to her. You don’t have to provide answers or a solution, but point her to the One who can.

At the end of the day, we are called to meet other women at the point of their need. Philippians 2:1-8 paints a beautiful picture of how to treat the people in our lives. If we truly are putting the needs of others above our own, it will show through our actions. Our role is to step in, stand in the gap, and offer them a cold cup of water in the name of Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:42). We often over-complicate things that are really simple, and sometimes it just takes one step in the right direction on our part. It might be hard, but it’s absolutely worth it.

via LifeWay Women All Access — 10 Ways to Meet Women Where They Are.

Prepare for Martyrdom | Step Out Boldly in Faith

6 Aug

bold“If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” –1 Peter 4:14-16

mar·tyr

/ˈmärtər/
Noun
A person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs.

The etymology or origin of the word martyr is interesting. The old English martyr, from Late Latin martyr, from Doric Greek martyr, literally translates as “witness.” In that context it seems especially appropriate considering the number of early Christians persecuted for witnessing –sharing the Gospel.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? –Matthew 16:24-26

“Every believer in the true God MUST be a potential martyr” –Pastor Burris

What can you do? Pick up your cross and boldly follow Him! From August 4, 2013 TACC sermon:

  1. Be the church: holy, humble, honest, helpful, homeless (Daniel 6:13; Jeremiah 29:7; 2 Chronicles 26; Hebrews 11:13-16; 13:14).
  2. Seek God (Daniel 9; 1 Kings 8:46-50; Psalm 137:5,6; 132:13-18).
  3. Believe in the Sovereign LORD (Daniel 6:4, 10, 13, 16, 20, 22-23).

“Haven’t we all prayed the following prayer? Lord, we pray for safety as we travel. We ask that no one gets hurt on this trip. Please keep everyone safe until we return, and bring us back safely. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen. The exact wording may vary a bit, but that is the standard prayer we recite before leaving on mission trips, retreats, vacations, and business trips.

We are consumed by safety. Obsessed with it, actually. Now, I’m not saying it is wrong to pray for God’s protection, but I am questioning how we’ve made safety our highest priority. We’ve elevated safety to the neglect of whatever God’s best is, whatever would bring God the most glory, or whatever would accomplish His purposes in our lives and in the world.”

Excerpt from Crazy Love by Francis Chan, page 133

How Can an Ordinary Woman Glorify God?|With Focus and Intention!

9 Jul

glory2The glory of God is found in the Gospel (Christ’s death on the cross for us). According to John Piper, “Jesus, in all his person and work, is the incarnation and ultimate revelation of the glory of God.”

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” –Hebrews 1:3a

Focus on the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and explore the depths of God’s character revealed through Jesus. Intentionally share the Good News with others in your personal mission field.

How Can an Ordinary Woman Glorify God? (Excerpt)

Before I Open My Eyes In the Morning

For me, filling the earth with His glory starts before I even open my eyes in the morning. It begins by acknowledging my need for Him to fuel and flood me with His Spirit. I surrender my day to Him, asking Him to direct my every moment. I pour truth into my heart and mind as I prepare to enter the day’s activities. I have to. I need His truth to direct me and hold me accountable through the day.

I want to speak His truth and demonstrate His grace. I seek to share the joy of abiding in His presence through my smiles, laughter, hugs, and service. I ask that my life will be yielded to His plan for my day, and that others will see He is worthy of all devotion.

That’s my mission: glorifying Him. Will you join me? How will you glorify Him today?

The remainder of the article can be viewed via this link: True Woman | How Can an Ordinary Woman Glorify God?.

25 Simple Ways To Be Missional In Your Neighborhood | Here I Am! Send me.

30 Jun

missionalfor, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:13-15

Round trip to Siliguri, India…19,650 miles (unless you fly to Anchorage and back first then add 4,700 miles). Round trip to Punta Colonet, Mexico…365 miles. Round trip to Los Angeles…80 miles. The distance to your neighbor’s house…a few feet.

Whether you go across the world, across the country, or across the street…share the Gospel.

Looking for local ideas to celebrate AND be on mission this 4th of July? Read on…

25 SIMPLE WAYS TO BE MISSIONAL IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

[ This is a guest post from Josh Reeves. ]

I have found that it is often helpful to have practical ideas to start engaging the people around me. Most of the things on this list are normal, everyday things that many people are already doing. The hope is that we would do these things with Gospel intentionality. This means we do them:

In the normal rhythms of life pursuing to meet and engage new people

Prayerfully watching and listening to the Holy Spirit to discern where God is working.

Looking to boldly, humbly, and contextually proclaim the Gospel in word and deed.

Lots of simple ideas to employ click here: 25 Simple Ways To Be Missional In Your Neighborhood | Verge Network.

 

 

TACC Missions News |Reaching the World for Christ

26 Jun

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15 

Commissioning of 3 Teams to Go and Tell!

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John 20:21 

Thursday, June 27:

7:45 AM Parking lot prayer send off: High School and College groups and leaders will be heading to Mexico to serve the people of Punta Colonet via Casa de Pan ministry.

punta

 

Thursday June 27:

3:00 PM Parking lot prayer send off: Team of eight will be leaving to bring the gospel to the Adavasi tribal people of Siliguri, India.

map-of-india

Friday, June 28:

12:45 PM Parking lot prayer send off: Jr High students will join in the missions activities with their trip to the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles.

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Click here for detailed mission information 

Live Generously | Reflecting Christ in Summertime

11 Jun

generosity“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11.

When you think of generosity does God’s astounding unfathomable grace fill your heart and mind? When you are giving to others do you do so authentically and lovingly in order to better reflect Christ? It is possible to be generous in the absence of love (1 Corinthians 13:3) but that giving does not reflect God’s ineffable love for us when He gave us His son and the hope of eternal life (John 3:16).

“Faith connects you so intimately with Christ, that He and you become as it were one person,” Martin Luther. Reflect this oneness (Galatians 2:20) by generously giving your time, money, or talent to meet the needs of others; those in the church and those in the community (Corinthians 9:7-15).

Reflecting Christ in Summertime (Excerpt)

by Nicole Whitacre

Here are a few summer time activity ideas from the Apostle Paul:

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven,” the Savior instructed in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:16).

When people see our good works: “They will ask, ‘What is it? Why are these people so different in every way…?” writes Martyn Lloyd-Jones. “And they will be driven to the only real explanation which is that we are the people of God, children of God…We have become reflectors of Christ.”

Scripture emphasizes the importance of good works for all Christians and for women in particular in 1 Peter 3:6, Titus 2:3–5, 1 Timothy 5:9–10, and in Proverbs 31:31. This last passage ends with the exclamation, “let her works praise her in the gates.”

The article in its entirety appears here: girltalk | Blog | Reflecting Christ in Summertime.

Why Women Need Women – She Worships

24 May

women-praying-handsRuth and Naomi, Mary and Elizabeth, the women at the cross; all cultivated friendships centered around and reflective of Christ. The type of love and encouragement they demonstrated with each other is what we should seek to emulate. At TACC Women’s Ministries the goal is to “be intentional about coming alongside each other – meeting needs, encouraging and serving, learning, teaching, growing, and reaching out – in ways that build us up as a community of women.”  Open your eyes, ears, arms, and heart to new friendship possibilities!

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

WHY WOMEN NEED WOMEN

On Friday I was having the WORST day! Fortunately, I had plans that night. It was my first “girls night” since I moved to the area. And boy was the timing PERFECT! We got dressed up, went to a cute little downtown area in a local village, ate Thai and talked the night away. By the end of the evening all my grumpiness had melted away and I felt like myself again. That sweet fellowship with my girl friends was just what the doctor ordered.

Later that night as I thanked God for the gift of friendship, I remembered a blog I wrote a couple years ago called “Too Good for Girl Time?“.  Female friendship is such a blessing and a valuable resource for Christian women–one that is too often underestimated.

For the complete article: Why Women Need Women – She Worships.

Love that Heals | Reaching Out to Our Neighbors in Love

19 May

C_Neighbor-320x171

What if you have it all wrong and the grumpy neighbor on your block is really you? What if you discovered the conclusion you had drawn about your neighbor was incorrect? How would you ever discover these truths without reaching out to your neighbors in a purposeful and loving way. The only true way to find out about someone is by listening and the only way to get that opportunity is through interaction. Develop a passion for the lost and love your neighbor by building a relationship with them.

“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” Romans 15:2

Love that Heals

What does it mean to love my neighbor as myself?

One rainy Saturday, I stared out the kitchen window as I washed dishes. Another wave of tornadoes had ravaged small towns across the nation. The news was filled with dramatic stories, and I was weary. Weary of disasters, devastation, and more tears. Weary of the conflict that will not be resolved this side of heaven.

What does the Bible require me to do about this? To love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself (Luke 10:27). This is much easier said than done. The legalist inside of me answers back: But how many? How many do I have to help? Who is my neighbor? And just like the lawyer who asked Jesus who exactly his neighbor was (Luke 10:29), the legalist was given a story.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word neighbor? A grumpy man who complains about kids on his lawn? Fun friends who share a meal? Partiers who block your driveway? Nameless people who move in and out? The question “Who is my neighbor?” for us today might be something more like “Who is my family?” We know we have intimate and invasive obligations to our moms and dads, brothers and sisters, spouses, and children. Yet in the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus is telling us that we, too, need to extend our circle.

The article in its entirety can be viewed here: Love that Heals | Today’s Christian Woman.

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