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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : Growing in Christ by Charlene Armitage

Growing in Christ

by Charlene Armitage

Ephesians 4:11–13:  So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  

 Life in Christ is truly a journey. It’s just that it’s usually true for everyone but me! It is tempting to believe that I have arrived, or am simply refining the imperfections. In Ephesians four Paul encourages the church (then and now) to “grow in every way …” This isn’t surprising language from scripture. We are accustomed to this type of instruction and encouragement. However, as we look more at chapter four, we quickly realize our rugged American individualism may be in jeopardy.   

As the church we are called to unity (4:3), and to the use of our individual gifting (4:11). Not a problem. I can do my job and play nice with others. But let’s read again …   

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from who the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV  

 We are to mature in all areas of the Christian life. But, the Holy Spirit does not gift us in every area of the Christian life.   

Uh oh. To obey and follow Jesus I need other people? That’s the design? Yes, the entire body.   

Thank you, Jesus, I’m not doing this on my own … especially when I think I can.   

I have a dream. I am praying for the day when every member of this body will know that they have a valued role based on the ability to name their spiritual gifts and experience fulfillment and joy as they serve, encourage each other and become more Christ-centered. 

Ask God to help you learn more about your gifts and how to use them for God’s kingdom.  Pray for the opportunity to more fully use them with people you come into contact with.
Posted by Terri Soper at Thursday, October 30, 2014
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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : Why Missions by Mike Lassiter

Why Missions?

by Mike Lassiter

I have wrestled with the words to describe why and how at Second Baptist church we accept missions as such a priority.  While a final description is still in the works, I have at least come to a beginning place.  When asked why Second Baptist Church engages in missions I hope at least part of the response is that each person is encouraged to find the one or two things that speak deeply to an individual and move that person to invest in the Dream of God for all people.    

When asked how Second Baptist engages in missions I hope at least part of the response is that if you look at the people and situations we engage with as a faith community the common thread is people who are marginalized or vulnerable.  While we would all agree that any person should be able to hear and respond to the best news of God's reconciling work in Jesus on humanity’s behalf, I am also convinced that collectively we are willing to walk with anyone who has experienced injustice or loss of dignity because of systems, society, or other people.  I believe we are willing to invest our lives where we find people who are hurting the most.

In Biblical days, lepers, orphans and widows were considered marginalized or vulnerable people.  Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow."  What would we add today to this verse?   

As we enter Catalyst 2.0 for 2015-2016, maybe you have discovered a desire to advocate for those with no advocate, noticed a group of people whose plight seems overwhelming, found a cause you must speak to or sensed an injustice you would like to see changed.  Maybe you haven’t found that “thing” you are passionate for. In either case, if you have determined now is the time to be involved for the dream of God to move forward, at Second Baptist we want to encourage you and help you move into that mission which God is prompting.    

We have concluded the SEND Initiative and the master list says we have had 203 individuals engage in missions in a new location or with a new opportunity.   Our goal was 200 people.  So while we celebrate reaching our goal, we celebrate even more the stories of what has shaped us.  Many have either examined missions in a fresh way, for the first time, or engaged with people where a passion for their plight has grown.  People have allowed transformation to happen in their lives.    

Because the world is changing at the speed of life, continue to consider how God is stirring us to be in the world alongside another person and not just view a person who needs to be preached at.    

Posted by Terri Soper at Wednesday, October 29, 2014
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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : Be An Example by Allan Aunspaugh

Be an Example

by Allan Aunspaugh

Deuteronomy 6:6–9:  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.   

It was a Saturday ritual among many Saturday rituals. After the yard was mowed, the garden tended to, the cars washed and waxed, and showers taken, we sat down to dinner (which was usually one of two favorite meals).  After the dishes were cleaned and put away and after we watched “Hee Haw,” my dad would always read through his Sunday school lesson for the next day, then he would write the tithe check to the church. On occasion he would explain to my sister and me that our family’s offering to the church was just one of many ways to express our love and obedience for God.  He would also explain that our tithe would support the ministries and programs of the church, provide salaries to the ministers and staff, and support the work of missionaries all over the world. And my parents would always make sure that my sister and I had something to put in the offering plate as well.   

It was the perfect illustration that made an impression for a lifetime. Fortunately Anne’s parents also taught that lesson to her family. We had both, individually decided that tithing would be a spiritual discipline. So when we established our home, tithing our joint income was a no brainer. It was something we did and continue to do. Before the house payment is made, before the electric bills are paid, before the car insurance is paid, we tithe.   

We’ve also tried to be good examples to our daughters, just like our parents were to us.  When they were young it was a quarter in their offering envelope. As they got older and they received an allowance we taught them that the first part went to God, the second to their savings, and the third was theirs to spend. As they have gotten jobs we have tried to impress upon them the importance of continuing that habit.  

We are grateful for Godly parents who demonstrated good habits. We hope that we have done the same.

If you still have children at home, talk to them frequently about giving to God.  Show them how you give and instill in them the same desire.
Posted by Terri Soper at Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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