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Relationship Building Principle-Fellowship and Worship

April 23rd, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK -Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Acts 2:46 and 47.

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

You can imagine how exciting that would be to wake up every day and wonder, “Who is going to join the Christian community today?” New converts were coming to Christ every day in the early church. Rich fellowship was also building up the strength of the church. As believers met together daily in worship and sharing food together, a strong bond was forming among believers with each other and with God. A devoted heart to God will affect how we treat other people. One of those differences will be sharing the joy of the Lord with others. The grace of Jesus compels us to live with an honest ambition to glorify God and share His love in various ways.

Being Intentional about Worship and Fellowship is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Relationship Building Principle-Awe and Wonder

April 22nd, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Acts 2:43.

“Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.”

One of the characteristics of a dynamic church is that the believers worship God with reverence and awe.

We are not meant to just go through the motions of worship, but to offer God a heart of worship.

The miracle of God’s love and the wonders of His grace so captivate us with a sense of gratitude that our joy overflows in praise.

When we consider the depths of pain that Jesus endured for the sake of offering us the riches of His kingdom, how could we not be moved? Hebrews 12:28 says, “Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

Living in awe and wonder of God’s grace is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Relationship Building Principle-Local Church

April 21st, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship Building Principle comes from Acts 2:42.

Speaking of the early church, “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

These are some of the qualities that made the early church a dynamic force. The Lord desires for His people to be connected with the local church. In the devotional “Moments Together”, Dennis and Barbara Rainey offer some questions to consider when searching for a church to attend: Here are a few of them:

Is it anchored in the Scriptures?

Does it have a sense of community?

Is it characterized by worship?

Is there opportunity for involvement?

If we are established in the local church already, these questions can be useful to consider how we might assist the church in growing in these areas. Jesus is building His church through the participation of His followers.

Participating in the ministry of the local church is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Encounter With Jesus-Thomas

April 16th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Connection, today’s Encounter with Jesus examines His resurrection appearance to Thomas.

One of Jesus’ disciples was skeptical that Jesus actually rose from the dead. Jesus had appeared to the other disciples, but not Thomas. When the disciples told Thomas that they had seen the Lord, he responded by saying, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” For Thomas, seeing was believing.

A week later, Jesus appeared to His disciples. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” In that moment, Thomas would have seen the evidence that Jesus is alive. He would have also seen the evidence of His love for Thomas. The nail marks revealed the price that Jesus paid for our sins. There is no expression of love more powerful and life-changing.

Jesus said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” That blessing extends to you if you believe the good news of His resurrection.

A daily connection with Christ causes our doubt and skepticism to be overcome by faith and worship.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Relationship Building Principle-The Love Of God

April 1st, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – This week’s Relationship-Building Principles examine how inviting God’s presence into our lives is healthy for our relationships.

Where God’s Presence is welcome, there is love.

First John 4, verses 7 and 8 are all about love, and how God’s love motivates us to reach out to others.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Then we learn what kind of love the Apostle John is talking about. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”

The love of Jesus was demonstrated through His service and sacrifice. There was no doubting that the expression of His love at the cross was authentic. God was demonstrating his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Having faith in Jesus gives us access to this power to love others selflessly and sincerely, with the heart of service and sacrifice.

Having the love of God is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Relationship-Building Principle-Honesty

March 24th, 2015 1 comment

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Ephesians 4:25.

“Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”

That word, “therefore” connects with a preceding thought, which talks about putting off the corrupted old self, and putting on the new self, where we are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Jesus trains us to be honest in our relationships. This means that we will be committed to the truth. That does not mean we have to disclose everything about ourselves to everybody. But it does mean that we project ourselves with honesty and humility. We avoid flattery, which deceives others into thinking they are better than they are. We also avoid boasting, which deceives ourselves into thinking we are better than we are. We are also careful not to spread false reports or rumors. Dishonesty undermines credibility, while honesty preserves integrity.

Jesus says He is the way, the truth, and the life. Under His influence, we put away falsehood and replace it with truth in the way we communicate with those people God has placed in our lives.

Honesty is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Relationship Building Principle-Unity and Harmony

March 19th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Psalm 133:1.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.”

Unity is not the same as uniformity. If we think about music, uniformity would be like everyone singing the same note, and playing the same instruments.

Unity blends different voices, singing different notes, using different instruments to turn harmony into a beautiful song.

In the body of Christ, unity is good and pleasant when each person is on the same page, acknowledging Jesus as Lord, and when His name is the anthem of our song. This song becomes a masterpiece of praise when God’s people keep their eyes on the conductor and exercise various forms of service as instruments of His grace.

Romans 12:16 instructs us to “live in harmony with one another.”

Living together in unity is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Relationship Building Principle-Words and Thoughts

March 18th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Psalm 19:14.

David prayed, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

This is a prayer expressing intent to bring glory to God with our words and thoughts. Life’s most important relationship is strengthened when our love for God spills over into action.

When it comes to pleasing God with our words, that means praising the name of Jesus with our songs and statements of faith. That means speaking the truth in love in our relationships with people. It will mean using edifying words to build them up in the faith and to encourage them to be true to the Lord. Honoring God with our words also means refraining from slander, gossip and boasting about ourselves.

When it comes to pleasing God in our thoughts, that means focusing on those things that are right, and pure, and lovely. That means thinking about Jesus and the words He spoke to us in the Bible. Then, we have direction for following in His footsteps.

Pleasing God with our words and thoughts is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Testimonial Evangelism

March 11th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In our Relationship-Building Principles, we are examining some of the ways Jesus’ followers can be effective witnesses for the Gospel.

One way is the Testimonial approach.

This is when we tell other people how God has specifically changed our lives with the touch of His grace. This might happen in a setting where we are sharing one-on-one with a friend. Or we might share our testimony in a church meeting.

In John 9, a man who was blind from birth was given sight. When the Pharisees asked him about this, he said about Jesus, “He put mud on my eyes and I washed, and now I see.”

Our testimony is where our story and God’s grace meet. When people hear and see the difference that Jesus makes in our lives, they have opportunity to see how Jesus can also change their lives in a profound way.

Psalm 66:16 says, “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”

Taking the testimonial approach of sharing the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Invitational Evangelism

March 6th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In our Relationship-Building Principles, we are examining some of the ways Jesus’ followers can be effective witnesses for the Gospel.

One way is the Invitational approach.

In our enthusiasm of being a follower of Jesus, we are motivated to invite others to experience new life in Christ too.

In John chapter 4 of the Bible, there was a woman at the well, who had an encounter with Jesus. She was living in immorality, but Jesus did not condemn her. Instead, He invited her to taste the living water of His grace.

She, in turn, went back to her Samaritan village to say to her people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I did. Could this be the Christ?” The Bible says they came out of the town and made their way toward him. Many of them became followers of Jesus too.

Jesus extends this invitation: “Come, follow me.” Revelation 22:17 says, “Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”

Taking the invitational approach of sharing the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Service Evangelism

March 4th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In our Relationship-Building Principles, we are examining some of the ways Jesus’ followers can be effective witnesses for the Gospel.

One way is to take the service approach.

In Acts 9, Tabitha is a good example of someone who demonstrated her love for God through acts of service. She was always doing good and helping the poor.

All over the world, Christian organizations reach out to children in poverty. Churches send out people to serve on mission trips. Disaster relief organizations help people in crisis situations to rebuild their lives. These forms of service are giving Christians opportunities to share the love of Jesus, as we represent Him in various forms of service.

Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Taking the service approach of sharing the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com