Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Meeting 4 needs are central to disciple making

Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman (John 4) teaches four important needs that are met during the disciple making process.*

First, she needed SUSTENANCE. She came to the well seeking water. A person's felt-needs are a powerful attracting force. The Samaritan woman went to where the water was. Hungry people come to food pantries. Other felt-needs are social, educational, health, status, etc. A church can attract people by meeting some of these needs or, like Jesus, place themselves where these needs are being met; or both.

Second, she a needed SUPPORT. She needed a friend. She came to the well at noon to draw water, avoiding the judgmental stares of the town women. Imagine sitting alone in the school cafeteria at lunch or hiding in the bathroom to avoid the other children. Social isolation is a cruel burden.

Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman across barriers of class, religion and ethnicity. We can build relationships with the people whose needs are being met by social ministry programs. They need kindness and friendship. Jesus identified closely with people in need. He said when we minister to them we minister to him.

Third, she needed SALVATION. Jesus turned the conversation to spiritual things by speaking about living water. We need to verbally tell people about Jesus. That is the most important part of the disciple making process. We all have physical and social needs but our need for salvation is paramount. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Fourth, she needed SIGNIFICANCE. Having found her Savior, she left her jar of water behind and returned to the town to tell others about Jesus. She had a new purpose. She started out seeking to meet a physical need and left having had a greater need fulfilled.

Nothing can bring more significance to our lives than serving our Lord. We are called to bring relief to the suffering, relationships to the lonely, redemption to the lost and inviting to them to join in the work of the gospel.

*Based on a sermon by Craig Christina, Associate Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT)

Friday, February 14, 2020

Be Like Andrew

Andrew was a quiet guy. We don’t read much about him in the Bible. He was at all of the gatherings of the 12 but rarely spoke. The few times Andrew is mentioned in the Bible it's because he brought people to Jesus.

Andrew was a follower of John the Baptist. When he heard John declare that Jesus was “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” he brought his brother, Peter, to meet Jesus. Later, Peter would preach a sermon that led 3000 to faith in Jesus.

Andrew brought a boy to Jesus who was willing to share his lunch. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, prayed, and fed 5000. (John 6:5-13) He, also, brought some Greeks to Jesus. (John 12:20-23)

Like Andrew, you can have a powerful impact just by inviting people. A 2019 Lifeway study in showed that a little over half of church attenders had not shared their faith in the last six months but the same number had invited someone to church in the same time frame. The fact that most people will go to a church for the first time because they were invited by someone they know, makes this very encouraging.

There are several factors that will improve the receptiveness of your invitation:

Relationships

Andrew went to his brother first. People close to you respect your opinion. They are your friends because you have things in common. You will know when to invite and to what events. Folks are more likely to come to a special event than to an average Sunday service.

On the other hand, a person may be going through a tough time and have a heart ready for God. People are more ready for Jesus than we think.

Volunteering

Andrew found a boy who was willing to serve. There are people who are not yet ready for worship or traditional Bible study might enjoy serving in a food pantry or work day. A woman went to serve in New Orleans with a group from her company, following Hurricane Katrina. She enjoyed the experience so much that she went back with a friend's church group the following year. She was amazed by the contrast between the two experiences. She witnessed Christian faith in action.

Cultural Curiosity

Andrew learned of some Greeks who wanted to learn more about Jesus. International students and immigrants are curious about all things American. They will be curious about American forms of Christianity. Christmas and Easter are holidays that are both Christian and American and a great opportunity to invite folks to a church service that explains their origins.

Bible discussion or discovery classes may be attractive to Americans who grew up in non Christian homes.

Food, Fun and Fellowship

People who have objections about church still like to eat. Invite them to a non-churchy event involving food. Invite other Christians, as well, to build a comfortable familiarity. Discomfort with the unknown is a barrier to the gospel that can be overcome with genuine friendship.


This is part of the sermon series “How To Be Spiritually Successful.” It is based on the Masterlife study “The Disciple's Cross.”

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Melissa Baxter becomes the first female Deacon Chair of Baptist Temple

After serving a year as Deacon Chair Elect, Melissa Baxter became the first female Deacon Chair in the 109 year history of Baptist Temple. Ordained a deacon in 2018 at Baptist Temple, she is the third of five generations whose faith was formed at Baptist Temple. Melissa has been active in Baptist Temple life for many years and currently serves as an adult Sunday school teacher and has completed 50 hours of Stephen Ministry training.

She is relieving Ernest Cruz, who had served multiple terms as Deacon Chair. Ernest was raised in a Christian home and was ordained a deacon at Baptist Temple in 2010 and has competed 50 hours of Stephen Ministry training. He will serve for a year as Past Deacon Chair on the Deacon Leadership Team.

Steven Grinnell has been elected as Deacon Chair Elect. He, too, has completed 50 hours of Stephen Ministry training and will serve on the Deacon Leadership Team. He will take over as Deacon Chair in 2021.

The Deacon Leadership Team helps to coordinate Baptist Temple's deacon ministry.