Archive for April, 2010

Open My Eyes, That I May See

Music has always been an important part of my life. As a Christian many songs have had an impact on me and help shape my life. From time to time I want to share some of these songs with you.

Clara H. Scott (December 3, 1841 – June 21, 1897) published Open My Eyes in 1885. I remember singing this hymn as a boy and as a teenager.

Open My Eyes, That I May See

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.

Refrain
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.

Refrain

Open my mouth, and let me bear,
Gladly the warm truth everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare
Love with Thy children thus to share.

Refrain

How it shaped me.

I learned to yield my senses – my eyes, my ears, my mouth – to God. It points me to what God wants me to see and hear but it also leads me to open my mouth and share God’s good news.

Spirit divine, I sit silently and wait for you, ready to see your will for today. Open my eyes, illumine me. Open my ears and let me hear. Open my mouth and let me share.

Grace and Peace,

Terry

I Wish I Had A Story

The only person she knew when she entered the room was the host. She had been invited to participate in a woman’s group conducted by a Cares Team Leader for Apartment Life. It was a small gathering with a lot of discussion and sharing. There was a mix of backgrounds and personalities among the women gathered there.

At one point the group leader asked her to share her story about her journey with Jesus. She opened her heart. She told about making her decision to follow Christ when she was a girl and a little of what that journey had looked like over the years.

After the sharing time was over the women engaged in a time of informal visiting. A young woman approached her and told her that she really liked hearing her story. The conversation was simple and did not take long. Soon both were talking with others.

A few days later the group leader called and shared that the second young woman had approached her about the story. She said something like this, “I really enjoyed hearing your friend’s story. I wish I had a story to tell.”

The door was open to tell how she too could start a journey with Jesus and one day have her own story.

Do you have a story about your journey with Jesus? Who needs to hear it?

Pray and ask the Father to give you the opportunity to share your story?

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Join the Conversation: Who first shared their story about their journey with Jesus with you?

I Was A Guest Of The Hospitality Industry

Last weekend I spent the night in a hotel and was a guest of the hospitality industry.

Hotels go to great length to make guests feel welcome by providing amenities. Locks on the doors and security guards made me feel secure and protected. The coffee was hot and tasty , plus I could make a pot in my room if I so desired. The desk clerk was polite and attended to our needs. Breakfast was provided for all the guests. There was a variety of magazines to read, including one about hospitality.

The Bible calls on Christians to practice hospitality which is simply a relationship between a host and a guest. For me this means doing life together with people in my home. It is sharing meals together, drinking coffee and eating pie. Hospitality encompasses celebrating the joys and comforting the sorrows of life. Sometimes it means offering a safe place to spend the night. Hospitality is offering my home as a place for the church to gather.

Here are 5 ways you can practice Christian hospitality:

  1. with the poor and needy (Luke 14:12-14)
  2. with God’s people (Romans 12:13)
  3. with the those yet to follow Christ (Luke 15:1-2)
  4. with the “stranger” (Hebrews 13:2)
  5. with those who share the Good News (3 John 1:7-9)

Make plans and invite someone over for a cup of coffee and conversation before the week is over.

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Join the Conversation: What aspect of hospitality do you find challenging?

Small Group Communication Channels

Beth and I had the opportunity to go to her family reunion last weekend at the home of her brother. We had a great time visiting with relatives and friends although the attendance was not as large as in past years.

I was able to observe how people informally gathered into smaller groups for conversation. There were often 12 to 15 people in the living room/kitchen but I never saw a group larger than 4 engaging in conversation. After a while, a member of one of the groups would leave and join another group or the groups would disengage and new groups would assemble.

It reinforced for me that the smaller the group, the more time you can spend with other members of the group. It is also easier to participate in the conversation.

Using Ralph Neighbour’s formula in The Shepherd’s Guidebook we can calculate the following number of conversation channels:

2 People 2 Communication Channels
4 People 12 Communication Channels
8 People 56 Communication Channels
15 People 210 Communication Channels

When your cell group, small group, or simple church meets, the lines of communication are important. The larger the group becomes, the easier it is for members to be left out of the conversation. More passive members will move to the fringes and more talkative members will dominate. After 15 persons, the ability for people to know each other intimately is greatly diminished.

Comments?

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Will You Jump?

William Booth (1829-1912) was originally a Methodist pastor in England who became the founder of the Salvation Army. His work was outside of the established church among those many considered “irredeemable.” He went to the the poorest and most needy seeking the “forgotten and forsaken.”

Get your coffee ready and watch Who Cares based on an original work by Booth and edited into contemporary English by Keith Green.

You can also view the video here.

“Look for yourselves. The surging sea of life, crowded with perishing souls rolls up to the very spot on which you stand… Jesus Christ, the Son of God,  is in the midst of the dying multitude, struggling to save them. And He is calling you to jump into the sea – to go right away to His side and help Him in the holy strife. Will you jump?”

“My comrades, you are rescued from the waters; you are on the rock. He is in the dark sea, calling on you to come to Him and help Him. Will you go?”

– William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

Jump! Go!

Grace and Peace,

Terry

9 Short Evangelism Prayers For Yourself

We have several options when we consider sharing our faith with others:

  • Do nothing (that would be inconsistent with our mission)
  • Try to share in our own strength (that is a recipe for failure)
  • Ask God to do in and through us what we cannot do in our own power (this should get the job done)

Sometimes we hesitate to pray for ourselves. Maybe we feel guilty asking for things. Perhaps the problem is that we try to do things on our own rather than in the power of God’s spirit.

Peter Wagner, in On The Crest Of The Wave page 123, writes

    “…all the carefully planned mission strategy in the world will be of no avail unless it is activated by divine power. According to our records, the very last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He left this earth were: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I have found the following 9 short prayers helpful in keeping me focused on the ministry of reconciliation.

  1. Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit and the power he gives to be a witness to those in my circle of influence. (Acts 1:8)
  2. Lord of the harvest, open my eyes that I might see the ripe harvest around me. (John 4:35)
  3. Jesus, let others see your transforming power in me as a sign that you can transform anyone. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
  4. Master, break my heart for those in my circle of influence who do not know you. (Romans 9:1-3)
  5. Father, fill my mouth with words that I might boldly share the mystery of the Good News. (Ephesians 6:19-20)
  6. Jesus, thank you for choosing me to bear fruit. Give me a bountiful harvest. (John 15:16)
  7. Lord, may others see you in my life and be drawn to you. (Acts 16:16-34)
  8. Father, open doors of opportunity for me to share your message and may I share it clearly (Colossians 4:2-4)
  9. Jesus, it is my desire to join you on your mission of seeking and saving that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)

Pray these prayers for yourself. Find a partner and pray them for each other.

Grace and Peace,

Terry