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May 17, 2017, 12:28 PM

3 ways to Equip Your Church for Personal Devotions

Written by Ken Braddy

According to an important discovery during the research phase of the Transformational Discipleship project, the number one indicator that a person was in a posture to grow spiritually was their practice of self-feeding. This means when people immerse themselves daily in God’s Word, they grow. Self-feeding leads to spiritual transformation, yet so many people do not spend time daily in God’s Word. “Only 19 percent of churchgoers read their Bible every day…81 percent do not read daily” (Transformational Groups, 72). Because self-feeding is an important daily discipline, church leaders should consider carefully their role in equipping church members for personal devotional time. Church leaders have 3 good options for helping their people immerse themselves in God’s Word:

  1. DevoHub – You probably haven’t heard about this new online tool from LifeWay. DevoHub has a free app in the iOS and Google Play stores that can be downloaded to your smartphone. When a church subscribes to the DevoHub service, it can set up an activation zone around the church. Once on campus, members and guests can activate their daily devotionals just once using the free DevoHub app and receive daily devotionals as long as the church is a subscribing member. There are daily devotional options for men (Stand Firm), women (Journey), kids, students, and families. There are also versions for all adults (Open Windows, Renew Daily). Plus there is a Spanish option, Quietud. You can get a free trial subscription by visiting devohub.com.
  2. Explore the Bible – This ongoing Bible study by LifeWay seeks to help people explore Scripture a book of the Bible at a time. Over the course of 9 years, all 66 books of the Bible are studied. Because it is impossible to study every verse in 9 years (it would actually take just over 40 years to study every verse in the Bible!), the team that creates Explore the Bible has placed a daily reading schedule at the front of each Personal Study Guide (PSG). Although the weekly Bible studies cannot touch on every verse in a book, the daily reading plan does. This is a great way to bring affordable devotional reading options to church members and guests through their ongoing Bible study materials!
  3. Discipleship In Context – Another option for creating devotionals for your church members is to choose a customized option. LifeWay has a new resource Discipleship In Context. This highly talented team of people create customized content based on a church’s needs. Devotionals can be crafted to coincide with the pastor’s sermons or any other criteria. You can learn more at discipleshipincontext.com.

Find out more at http://blog.lifeway.com/explorethebible/blog/1616/




March 7, 2017, 12:30 PM

BUT WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?

The world is more tumultuous than I have ever seen it in my life time. Our own nation is in societal upheaval. Demands are made for rights and space. Tolerance is passé. Peace seems lost forever. Therapy, puppies and crayons are not the true answers for peace. Declaring safe zones won’t bring lasting peace. We know that even in the midst of chaos and upheaval real peace can only truly be found through a genuine relationship in Jesus Christ.   

I confess that I find myself frustrated with the continual unrest, the growing hatred towards the church, and disdain for spiritual truth. I find that I must intentionally seek God to stay focused on His truth and experience the peace He can bring into my life. This is critical for the church if we are going to effectively share the gospel with those around us.

At a time when Jesus’ world was growing intolerant towards Him and His teachings, and He knew that His crucifixion was drawing near, He had the following conversation with His disciples.

13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’ 15He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ 16And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ 17And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18’And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.’” Matthew 16:13-20 NAS

Two things stand out to me concerning this conversation:

  • First, the church is to proclaim Christ to a lost and chaotic world. Christ directly asks the disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” He makes them forget those things that they have been hearing in the world about who Jesus is and to declare who they have experienced Jesus to be. Peter’s response was, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The church must make this same proclamation to the world today. The resurrected Christ is the only hope for true peace.
     
  • Also, the church must remember that Christ has empowered the church. With 70% of our churches in regression we have relegated ourselves to survival mode. We wag our heads and blame the world for our failure to be empowered by our living Savior. Jesus encourages us by saying, “the gates of Hades shall not overpower the church.” Jesus empowers us and has given us a message of hope to share with those who have no hope.  In faith, we must rise up and move into our communities in His strength and power and proclaim Christ the risen Lord as the answer to all that is broken and in chaos. 

Are you effectively proclaiming the risen Christ to the world around you? Who do you say Jesus is? Not in just words, but in attitude and actions as well. 

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February 23, 2017, 1:59 PM

Revive Conference


With more than 900 SBC churches closing their doors and only about 15% of SBC churches showing growth, church revitalization is a concern.  Sacramento Region Baptist Network will be hosting a Revive Conference on March 30, 2017, at El Camino Baptist Church.  I encourage our pastors to register their leaders and take advantage of the conference.  The conference will be led by Richard Blackaby and Mark Clifton.

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February 16, 2017, 10:12 AM

UNLEASH THE POWER OF PRAYER IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Prayer empowers your ministry because you invite God to get involved.  Ask God to get involved in your community! 

Come learn how to effectively prayerwalk your community.   Pastor Jerry McCullah walks the talk!  He leads his own church to prayer walk their community.  Pastor bring your members  to this seminar and impact your community for Christ.

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February 2, 2017, 1:47 PM

Prayerwalking Seminar


If you have a real burden for your community you won't want to miss a special seminar on Prayerwalking led by Pastor Jerry McCullah. 

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