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What if God had more for our kin this Thanksgiving than the Macy’s parade, tryptophan-induced naps, and NFL football? What if we saw our gatherings with extended family not as a chance to check out, but as an opportunity for Christian mission?

It should be good news to us that we don’t have to be Jedi-master evangelists to be agents of gospel advance among those whom we know best. In fact, it may be better if we’re not.

So before bellying up to this year’s turkey feast, here’s a few thoughts from a fellow bungler to help us think ahead and pray about how we might grow in being proxies for the gospel, in word and deed, among our families this Thanksgiving. These are some practical ideas for what it might mean to see ourselves as sent among our relatives. These suggestions are inspired by Randy Newman’s excellent book Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well.

1) Pray ahead.

Begin praying for your part in gospel advance among extended family several days before gathering. And let’s not just pray for changes in them, but also pray for the needed heart changes in us — whether it’s for love or courage or patience or kindness or fresh hope, or all of the above.

2) Listen and ask questions.

Listen, listen, listen. Perhaps more good evangelism than we realize starts not with speaking but with good listening. Getting to know someone well, and specifically applying the gospel to them, is huge in witness. Relationship matters.

Ask questions to draw them out. People like to talk about themselves — and we should capitalize on this. And most people only enjoy talking about themselves for so long. At some point, they’ll ask us questions. And that’s our golden chance to speak, upon request.

One of the best times to tell the gospel with clarity and particularity is when someone has just asked us a question. They want to hear from us. So let’s share ourselves, and Jesus in us. Not artificially, but in genuine answer to their asking about our lives. And remember it’s a conversation. Be careful not to rabbit on for too long, but try to keep a sense of equilibrium in the dialogue.

3) Raise the gospel flag early.

Let’s not wait to get to know them “well enough” to start clearly identifying with Jesus. Depending on how extended our family is, or how long it’s been since we married in, they may already plainly know that we are Christians. But if they don’t know that, or don’t know how important Jesus is to our everyday lives, we should realize now that there isn’t any good strategy in being coy about such vital information. It will backfire. Even if we don’t put on the evangelistic full-court press right away (which is not typically advised), wisdom is to identify with Jesus early and often, and articulate the gospel with clarity (and kindness) as soon as possible.

No one’s impressed to discover years into a relationship that we’ve withheld from them the most important things in our lives.

4) Take the long view and cultivate patience.

With family especially, we should consider the long arc. Randy Newman is not afraid to say to Christians in general, “You need a longer-term perspective when it comes to family.” Chances are we do. And so he challenges us to think in terms of an alphabet chart, seeing our family members positioned at some point from letters A to Z. These 26 steps/letters along the way from distant unbelief (A) to great nearness to Jesus (Z) and fledgling faith help us remember that evangelism is usually a process, and often a long one.

It is helpful to recognize that not everyone is near the end of the alphabet waiting for our pointed gospel pitch to tip them into the kingdom. Frequently there is much spadework to be done. Without losing the sense of urgency, let’s consider how we can move them a letter, or two or three, at a time and not jerk them toward Z in a way that may actually make them regress.

5) Beware the self-righteous older brother in you.

For those who grew up in nonbelieving or in shallow or nominal Christian families, it can be too easy to slide into playing the role of the self-righteous older brother when we return to be around our families. Let’s ask God that he would enable us to speak with humility and patience and grace. Let’s remember that we’re sinners daily in need of his grace, and not gallop through the family gathering on our high horse as if we’ve arrived or just came back from the third heaven. Newman’s advice: “use the pronouns ‘we’ and ‘us’ far more than ‘you’” (65).

6) Tell it slant.

Some extended family contexts may be so far from spiritual that we need to till the soil of conversation before making many direct spiritual claims. It’s not that the statements aren’t true or desperately needed, but that our audience may not yet be ready to hear it. The gospel may seem so foreign that wisdom would have us take another approach. One strategy is to “tell it slant,” to borrow from the poem of the same name — to get at the gospel from an angle.

“If your family has a long history of negativity and sarcasm,” writes Newman, “the intermediate step of speaking positively about a good meal or a great film may pave the way for ‘blinding’ talk of God’s grace and mercy” (67). Don’t “blind” them by rushing to say loads more than they’re ready for. As Emily Dickinson says, “The truth must dazzle gradually / Or every man be blind.”

7) Be real about the gospel.

As we dialogue with family about the gospel, let’s not default to quoting Bible verses that don’t really answer the questions being asked. Let’s take up the gospel in its accompanying worldview and engage their questions as much as possible in the terms in which they asked them. Newman says, “We need to find ways to articulate the internally consistent logic of the gospel’s claims and not resort to anti-intellectual punch lines like, ‘The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.’”

Yes, let’s do quote Bible when appropriate — we are Christians owing ultimately to revelation, not to reason. But let’s not make the Bible into an excuse for not really engaging with their queries in all their difficulty. (And let’s not be afraid to say we don’t know when we don’t!)

8) Consider the conversational context.

Context matters. It doesn’t have to be face to face across the table to be significant. “Many people told me their best conversations occurred in a car — where both people faced forward, rather than toward each other,” says Newman. “Perhaps the indirect eye contact posed less of a threat” (91). Maybe even sofas and recliners during a Thanksgiving Day football game, if the volume’s not ridiculous. Be mindful of the context, and seek to make yourself available for conversation while at family gatherings, rather than retreating always into activities or situations that are not conducive to substantive talk.

9) Know your particular family situation.

In some families, the gospel has been spoken time and again in the past to hard hearts, perhaps there has been a lack of grace in the speaking, and what is most needed is some unexpected relational rebuilding. Or maybe you’ve built and built and built the relationship and have never (or only rarely) clearly spoken the message of the gospel.

Let’s think and pray ahead of time as to what the need of hour is in our family, and as the gathering approaches pray toward what little steps we might take. And then let’s trust Jesus to give us the grace our hearts need, whether it’s grace for humbling ourselves enough to connect relationally or whether it’s courage enough to speak with grace and clarity.

10) Be hopeful.

God loves to convert the people we think are the least likely. Jesus is able to melt the hardest of hearts. Some who finished their lives among the greatest saints started as the worst of sinners.

Realistically, there could have been some cousin of the apostle Paul sitting around some prayer meeting centuries ago telling his fellow believers, “Hey, would you guys pray for my cousin Saul? I can’t think of anyone more lost. He hunts down followers of The Way and arrests them. Just last week, he was the guy who stood guard over the clothes of the people who killed our brother Stephen.” (53)

With God, all things are possible. Jesus has a history of conquering those most hostile to him. We have great reason to have great hope about gospel advance in our families, despite how dire and dark it may seem.

When We Fail

And when we fail — not if, but when — the place to return is Calvary’s tree. Our solace in failing to adequately share the gospel is the very gospel we seek to share. It is good to ache over our failures to love our families in gospel word and deed. But let’s not miss that as we reflect on our failures, we have all the more reason to marvel at God’s love for us.

Be astonished that his love is so lavish that he does not fail to love us, like we fail to love him and our families, and that he does so despite our recurrent flops in representing him well to our kin.

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CANTA David Stanus
  În casa ta  
   Autor si Compozitor ; Gheorghe Zoltan   Acord ; Mi  min

In casa ta mai sunt si azi altare?

In casa ta mai arde focul oare?

In casa ta mai este azi Cuvintul

Si nicidecum nu te va bate vintul?.

In casa ta mai sunt idolii lumii?

Sa macini azi semintile minciunii?

Sa fugi mereu de tot ce-i inaltare

Si apoi vei fi la marea sarbatoare./.

In casa ta mai este azi lumina?

In rugaciuni si post si disciplina?

Ca doar asa sotul si sotia

Vor mosteni in ceruri vesnicia…

In casa ta mai este armonie?

Cand cerul tot iti aduce bucurie.

Caminul tau a fost si pentru altii

Venit-au des surorile si fratii./.

In casa ta ca Iosua sa spui

Caci tu cu ai tai linga Domnul ramai

Chiar daca toti isi schimba azi stapinul

Tu vei striga:

,,Ca Domnul nu-i niciunul.!! ”

unnamed

 

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21766736_2032624810302866_7122053441592480783_nKeep Going!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).
In the Christian life, endurance is essential for moving forward into the promises of God. Yet have you noticed how various obstacles can try to hinder your movement forward?
Shame, the past, current struggles, all of these things can be hurdles on the path before us. But no matter what you may face in the future, or are up against today, I want to encourage you to fix your eyes on Jesus. He has overcome the world, and in Him, so can you!
Jesus has gone before you and made a way for you to persevere to the end, to finish the race well. So don’t give up! Fix your eyes on Jesus and keep going!Christine Caine – First Things First

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“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
-Philippians 3:10-14 KJV.

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14368743_1208642472584248_1903782319690324442_nBeloved Brothers And Sisters ~

As I was just rushing to pick up Julian from school, I began to feel the hunger in the people as I passed by person after person in their cars and in the streets. And as I looked at each person passing by, God began to form my thoughts and I could feel His Anger rising as He let me realize that their stomachs would most likely be fed by the hands of the enemy rather than the hands of the servants of God… God was revealing to me the deprivation and emptiness in people, and in that moment I began to pray, “Jesus… feed Your People. Show us how to be the answer, how to HAVE the Answer; how to SPREAD Truth…” And in the midst of all the hustling to pick up Julian on time from school, God was giving me a disturbing vision of our church (the Church in general) – Outwardly welcoming yet inwardly barred shut…

I began to feel the weight of God’s Problem with the Church settle in the pit of my stomach as I realized that God’s Church has become completely IRRELEVANT. In fact, it seems like a breathing hypocrisy… I was smacked in the face with the disturbing REALITY as I ran from my parked car the rest of the way to school to meet Julian on time… Churches outwardly welcoming yet inwardly barred shut! In me Jesus was crying, “I AM ALIVE!” yet the hearts of His People are barred shut, the window to their souls locked and church parking lots empty. Looks pretty dead to me! I felt sick as I realized that God is filling the Church with His SPIRIT and asking us to go feed His People with TRUTH, LIFE, LOVE, WISDOM, DIRECTION and POWER, yet the doors are barred shut and the windows are dark and closed…

So when the woman ready to commit suicide wants to reach her hand out one last time, who will be the one to fill it? The enemy seems to have a better grasp on relevant ministry than we do. I think something in the way we view CHURCH needs to shift DRASTICALLY and IMMEDIATELY… If we have the HIGHEST, MOST HOLY, OMINISCIENT, OMNIPOTENT, SPIRIT as our GUIDE, why aren’t we offering a Spiritual hand of guidance to the hungry and the needy? Are we asleep? Are we numb? Are we hypocrites? Why put a WELCOME sign on the door to the Church (so to speak) if we are going to bar up the entire porch so that the dirty hands of the homeless won’t be able to touch it and mess up the new paint job?

Now with Julian in tow and after sharing this with him, he looked at me and said, “What if we could feed the spirit of each person by whispering the name of Jesus as we walk by each one. Maybe their spirits would grab His Name and begin to long for Him…” For the rest of the walk back to the car Julian said, “JESUS” as he passed each person. I laughed as I realized my little guy is just as OBSESSED with spreading the LOVE of God as I am! Truly a moment when God was speaking wisdom through and out of the mouth of babes!

God, help us. Wake us. Show us the way to invade the spiritual powers of this culture. Let the Church become RELEVANT. Let the Living God truly explode with LIFE out of the servants who have chosen to be the hands and feet of Jesus… Let us have RELEVANT FAITH so that those who are hungry will be able to GRAB onto it…

God, we pray that Your FAITHFULNESS will fill us with FAITH to step toward the desires you have for our lives. Give us a CAUSE to fight for YOUR NAME. Let the history of Your VICTORY in our lives be on our lips daily as we face the giants. Let YOUR NAME be magnified in us ,as Your Servants choose to fulfill the vows and covenants we made with YOU… to KNOW YOU… In Your Holy and Precious Name Jesus we pray… Amein… (shared of my journal)10440802_696494227073693_7724385406213002777_n13001092_1143066769048122_7200995702218758525_n

JILL SOTO JULY 4 2014-from fb

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OBEDIENCE ALWAYS WINS!

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And it gets you stuck in life. Rebellion is called equal to witchcraft in the Bible. Israelites were in the desert for 40 years. It’s almost walking on a treadmill. You keep running and sweating but getting no where. It’s the same with rebellion. You will never win when you do it your way other than God’s way! There’s nothing more pleases and glorifies God than obedience. Today pray that God will give you an obedient heart! There’s humble attitude and selflessness in obedience. Why? Because when we’re obedient, we acknowledge God as the ultimate authority in our lives. We humble ourselves by obeying His requirements. And by following Him we tell him basically it’s not about us but it’s ALL about Him. Obedient life is a miraculous life. Because God will be always with you!

ISIK ABLA

https://vimeo.com/104311893

https://vimeo.com/isikabla


 ABOUT of ISIK ABLA

Website: isikabla.com
Facebook: facebook.com/isikablatv
Twitter: twitter.com/Isikablam

Işık Abla was born in Turkey. She was raised—and physically abused—in a Muslim home, only to escape into even deadlier abuse by a Muslim man she married.

Işık entered college when she was only sixteen and earned a bachelor’s degree in literature, followed by an advanced business degree. She worked in high-ranking executive positions for some of the largest corporations in Turkey and traveled throughout Europe.

In 1996, she fled to America from her violent Muslim husband after he tried to kill her.

Other tragedies took place brought her into a state of despair. After years of struggling to start her career all over again in a foreign country and failing in many areas of her personal life, Işık fell into deep depression. She became suicidal.

On the day she was planning to end her life, she had a personal encounter with God. That day, she surrendered her life to Jesus and she received the supernatural healing and redemption of Jesus Christ.

From that moment on, her life remarkably changed for the better. More doors were opened, and she was given a position as CFO, then as CEO, of a European corporation.

In the meantime, Işık served in many capacities as a minister, an evangelist and public speaker. She also enrolled into college to study Computer Science. After a while, she realized that God was calling her into full time ministry. She left her 2nd college and went to Ambassador’s Commission School of Ministry. Soon after her graduation, she became an ordained minister. Isik is currently studying Masters in School of Divinity on Theological Studies.

In 2009, Işık began hosting a satellite TV program on Kanal Hayat – Turkish language Christian Satellite channel. There was an overwhelming amount of response through these programs.

Two years later, because of tremendous responses from the Muslims, she began a live call-in program: The Way, The Truth and The Life that is simulcast on Turkish and Farsi TV channels throughout the Middle East and Europe. The responses started multiplying as the lives of Muslims were being transformed.

Currently, Işık’s TV programs target approximately 500 million people in the Muslim world. In 2014, the ministry reached 250 million people only through Social Media. Facebook has received an overwhelming response of 1.7 million likes and 3.5 million daily hits from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Yemen, India and the U.S. Thousands of messages are received monthly.

Because of the high demand and God’s calling, Işık started Embracing New Life, TV programs in English and aired on INSP TV (Inspiration TV). These programs are targeting hundreds of millions of Muslims and are being dubbed into Urdu, Farsi and Arabic.

Indonesia: RecentlyIşık received an invitation for her programs to be dubbed into Indonesian language as her ministry started receiving a demand and a great interest from Indonesia.

America: In April 2015, Embracing New Life began airing in the United States on NRB Network

Through Işık’s programs, viewers from all over the US, Europe and Muslim nations receive Isik’s message of hope, love and freedom in Christ. Isık is also the founder and the president of Işık Abla Ministries.

Public Speaking: Işık has been receiving invitations from churches for conferences on the following topics: Freedom in Christ on addictions, emotional hurt, freedom from past, anger, abuse, insecurities, etc. She also receives invitations from the churches to preach on revival.

External Links

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https://isikabla.com/

SOME WORDS ABOUT US


WHAT DO YOU THINK? – We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, “Jesus is Lord,” you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

https://www.facebook.com/isikablatv

https://twitter.com/ISIKABLAM

https://www.instagram.com/isik_abla/

https://vimeo.com/

ARE YOU READY FOR WAR? 

  • When my feet hit the ground I like to let the enemy to know- I AM READY! I plead the blood of Jesus over me. I put my armor on and I VISUALIZE the BATTLE I am walking into! I am battling for the men and women without HOPE. I am battling for the divorced couples. I am battling for those in sex-slavery! I will not be SILENT, when GOD created me to SPEAK OUT! I want to make sure HIS LIGHT is shining through me. We are the SALT and LIGHT of the earth- ALSO know as CITY, COUNTRY and WORLD CHANGER! Let’s go to war for souls! AMEN!
    http://www.ISIKABLA.com

     

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ChurchLeaders Podcast
SUBSCRIBE NOW:
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Louie Giglio on the Glory of God, Leadership Burnout and His Biggest Comeback Yet

Louie Giglio is the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and founder of Passion Conferences. He is a dynamic and effective communicator, and passionate about the glory of God. He and his wife, Shelley, live in Atlanta.

Big Questions:

Tell us the “how” and “why” behind Passion Movement?

How do you change your focus to the glory of God?

What’s your biggest comeback moment in life?

Quotes from Louie Giglio:

Our real core, now and then, was an idea that the greatest value in life is God and His glory. And the greatest thing we can do with our lives is to leverage them for God and for His glory.

God doesn’t exist for me, I exist for God.

I had an awakening … From that moment on, in every page of scripture that I looked at, I was staring straight at a story of God’s glory.

When I look back at my life at the shaping moments in my life, there were people with skin on that God was using to amplify His Word to me.

All of eternity angles toward and bends toward the glory of God. And that’s every story. It’s the heart of scripture and now it gives me my ultimate meaning.

Mentioned in the Show

More from Louie Giglio on ChurchLeaders

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