Developing a Ministry

May 5 was our last meeting for the school year.  Out topic was how to develop a ministry.  We started by asking the question, “What is ministry?”  It is simply serving the Lord by serving others!

“Ministry is giving when you feel like keeping; praying for others when you need to be prayed for, feeding others when your own soul is hungry, living truth before people even when you can’t see results, hurting with other people even when your own hurt cannot be spoken, keeping your word even when it is not convenient.  It is being faithful when your flesh wants to run away.” —Author Unknown

IMG_8718We talked about four areas of ministry every believer should focus on:

1. Prayer

Praying for others needs and the Lord’s work.

Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. ” (Col. 4:12, NKJV)

Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thes. 5:17, NKJV)

“Prayer isn’t preparation for the work, it is the work. Prayer isn’t preparation for the battle, it is the battle.” —Oswald Chambers

2. Evangelism/Witnessing

Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world.

…and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NKJV)

3. Discipleship

Helping others grow in their walk with the Lord.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.(Matt. 28:19-20, NKJV)

4. Good works

Can open doors to share the gospel with unbelievers; is a blessing to believers.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.” (Titus 3:8, NKJV)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16, NKJV)

We also had a handout of practical ministry ideas that we can start with.

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The point really isn’t about “developing a ministry,” rather it’s about having an eternal focus.  If we focus on earthly things rather than the eternal, we will be sorry one day; we are missing the big picture (Matthew 6:19-21, 33).  There are many people God brings into our path each day who desperately need the gospel, teaching, and encouragement.  It is important for us to develop a ministry mindset or we will not be ready for the opportunities that God puts in our way.

So many Christians have the wrong focus and live their whole lives without doing anything to serve the Lord.  God does not want lukewarm Christians; He desires Christians who take up their cross and live lives totally dedicated to Him.
Our goal should be not just be to serve the Lord some, but to give Him our entire lives!  Our goal is not only to bear fruit, but to bear much fruit that our Father may be glorified (John 15:8).  Life on earth is only a vapor—it passes quickly.  Are we living our lives in such a way that count for eternity? Or will we be ashamed of the life we wasted?IMG_8719

For our activity time, we had a fun Bright Lights Quiz!  We divided into six teams.  Two teams competed against each other at a time.  We had three questions per lesson that we had this year.  We would read the question and the teams had 20 seconds to come up with their answer.  Whichever team rang the bell first, got to answer the question.  Each team had two rounds, then we had a tie-breaking round.  The winning team got to be first in live for ice cream sundaes!  It was a fun way to review what we learned this year.

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Each girl brought a topping to share and we had a lot of fun building our ice cream sundaes, and then eating together one last time.  It’s been a wonderful year of studying God’s word, growing in Him, and building relationships with other sisters-in-Christ.

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We also managed to get a group picture!

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May each one of you girls continue seek the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to grow in Him!

That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” (Colossians 1: 10-12, NKJV)


Thank you, Havala, for taking pictures! :)

Mercy

P4076405What is mercy?  Mercy is replacing punishment with kindness—when someone gets someone else out of trouble at his or her own expense.  Mercy is undeserved kindness.  Mercy isn’t fair because it involves receiving unfair benefits, blessings, or rewards that we don’t deserve at someone else’s expense.

Mercy is: “That… tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant.” —Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

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Parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35)

Both truth and mercy are very important in understanding the gospel; one must know the truth that Jesus is the only way, and must recognize that he/she is guilty and ask the Lord for mercy.  Truth tells us the trouble that we face as sinners; mercy frees us from it.  When we know the truth about our condition, we must ask for mercy.  God is just—meaning He must punish sin, but He is also merciful—He does not want to punish sin.  Jesus became our substitute, taking our punishment and satisfying God’s justice.  Now God can extend mercy to us.

“For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

—James 2:13

It is so easy to repay evil for evil without even thinking about it, but God calls us to be merciful to others – to have an attitude of mercy, compassion, and forgiveness toward those who have hurt or wronged us.  It takes mercy to repay evil with good.  It takes humility and meekness (not weakness!) to extend mercy to those who have wronged us.

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Parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)

Evangelism requires mercy.  Unbelievers are saved by asking God for mercy.  For belivers, it takes an attitude of mercy to share the gospel with others.  Many people don’t seem to care and don’t do anything about those who are lost and dying in sin.  An attitude of mercy will motivate us to share the gospel with others.

When we realize that we have done something wrong and are in need of mercy, what is the best way to get it?  We need to admit the truth and ask for mercy with a humility and sincerity.  Each of us stands guilty and helpless before God—we are totally unable to pay the debt we owe.  The more we recognize the exceedingly great mercy of God, the more we will love Him.  If we look at ourselves as “pretty good” we will only love the Lord a little, but if we see the seriousness of our sin as He sees it, we will love Him much!

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Parable of the Pharisee and tax collector (Luke 18:10-14)

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

—Lamentations 3:22-23

God’s mercy is given to us daily.  It is new every morning.  It endures forever.   The more we understand how utterly dependent we are on the Lord’s mercy daily, the more we will appreciate His incredible kindness and gift of salvation.  It is important for each of us to recognize the tremendous mount of mercy we’ve been shown.

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Parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)

We finished the lesson with reading Psalm 136 together

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever:
To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever;”

—Psalm 139:1-4

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Parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7)

For our activity time, we acted parables that illustrate the concept of mercy.  As always, the girls were creative and loved coming up with their parable “skits”.  See you all at our next meeting!

Sharing the Gospel – Part 1

As young people, we are in a special position to share the gospel with others.  Adults usually aren’t intimidated by young people and so they are often willing to talk about spiritual things.  They are often curious about young people and enjoy conversing with them.  Since many young people today are immature, irresponsible, people notice a difference when they see a young person who takes a stand for truth and articulates what he or she believes.  As young ladies, we have energy, we have time, we have enthusiasm.  Let’s use it for Christ!

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The word gospel means “good news.”  You can’t appreciate the good news without the bad news.  Many people don’t like to talk about the bad news.  They don’t like to tell people that they are heading for death and hell.  But it’s doesn’t make sense to tell someone God loves them and Jesus died for them unless they first understand the bad news.
When sharing the gospel, there are three things people people need to know:

1. The Bad News: Man’s sin and need for a Savior

  • God is holy and perfect, cannot allow sin into heaven.  (Rev. 15:4)
  • Man is sinful, has broken God’s law. (Rom. 3:10)
  • Man cannot meet up to God’s standard of perfection. (Rom. 3:23)
  • There is a penalty for sin. (Rom. 6:23, Rev. 20:15)

2. The Good News: The Savior, Jesus Christ

  • God loves us, He made a way for us to be right with Him. (Rom. 5:8)
  • Jesus came and lived a perfect life.  Because He had no sin of His own, He died on the cross to pay the penalty for us.  He took our place and became our substitute.
  • His death satisfied the payment that had to be made, and God raised Him up on the third day showing His power over death. He offers eternal life to all who believe on His name.

3. Man’s response

  • God has given each of us a free will.  Although God has done everything necessary to save us, He has also given us a choice to either receive Christ as our Savior or reject Him.
  • To receive Jesus, one must place their trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross  (Acts 16:31, Rom. 10:13)
  • It’s not a prayer that saves us, it’s not our parents’ faith that saves us, it’s not simply knowing about Jesus that saves us.  Only by realizing that we are totally unable to save ourselves and by putting our faith and trust in what Christ has already done—that is the only way we can be saved.  Christ alone!

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God has given us the exciting privilege and responsibility of sharing His message of truth to the world.  Each one of us is called to be a missionary, ambassador, witness right where God has placed us.  We have been entrusted with the most valuable news in the world—the saving message of the cross.  When we think about the eternal destiny of those who don’t know the Lord, how can we keep the message of life to ourselves?  How can we think that it’s too inconvenient, requires too much sacrifice, or is too difficult?  It’s a matter of life and death.

“If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?”

—David Livingstone, missionary to Africa

What will matter a million years from now?  The only thing that will matter is who is in heaven and who is in hell.  What are we doing to share the gospel with others?

We also listened to the story of “The Man on George Street,” Frank Jenner–a man who faithfully shared the gospel with others.  You can listen the audio clip on YouTube here.

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Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

—Fanny Crosby

For our activity, we made “Beautiful Feet” bookmarks and poster to remind ourselves to be sharing the gospel with others.

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Truthfulness

Our lesson topic for February 25 was truthfulness. To start off the lesson, we played a quick round of balderdash.

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The first spiritual battle on earth centered around truth and deception (Genesis 3:1-6).  Satan lied to Eve.  She believed the lie and suffered spiritual death—separation from God.  Life and death hinge on truth.  Satan is still trying to deceive the world today.  He is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).  Satan’s primary attack against us is spiritual lies and deception.  The only way to escape the peril of his lies is to make sure that we know the truth.

It is important to know the truth so that we will not be deceived by the lies of the enemy.  Just like balderdash, sometimes his lies sound like truth or close to the truth when they really aren’t.  When we know the truth and apply it in our lives, we will be free from the trap of Satan’s lies and deceitfulness.  That is why it is so important to be reading, studying, and applying God’s Word in our lives–it is the source of truth (John 17:17).  The more we come to know the Lord and what He says, the more quickly we will be able to discern between truth and error.

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What does God think about lying?

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.”

Proverbs 12:22

Lies are like traps. One lie often leads to another and another until you can’t break free.  Only the truth can set us free (John 8:32). When we’ve lied to someone, we need to go back, tell them the truth, and ask for forgiveness.  (Proverbs 28:13).  Acknowledging the truth by confessing sin and replacing the enemy’s lies with God’s truth brings freedom.

While speaking the truth is important, there are other ways in which we can be dishonest and deceitful without actually telling a lie.  For example: telling only part of the truth, keeping secrets from our parents, doing something behind someone’s back, or being deceitful.  More subtle forms of deceitfulness include exaggerating, pretending that you know something that you don’t, manipulating others, or acting differently around different people.

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As we strive to be bright lights for the Lord, we need to avoid all forms of deceitfulness—if we have lies that we are covering up it will dim our light and hinder our testimony.  If truthfulness is a struggle in your life, find some verses to memorize about truth and lying. The Lord has a lot to say about this subject!

As bright lights for the Lord, we want to be valiant for the truth.  We want to be fighting against the lies of the enemy and explain God’s truth to those around us. We want to represent Jesus, the One who is the truth (John 14:6), everywhere we go.  So many people around us are believing the lies of the enemy and they are trapped.  We want to be able to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ, because only He can set them free.

For our activity we had a debate between lies and truth.  The lies team was supposed to come up with as many excuses and lies as they could for making the wrong choice, while the truth team was supposed to make a case for making the right choice.

IMG_0758We ended our meeting with a great time of snacks and fellowship.

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Developing a Ministry (and program for families)

June 7 was our last meeting for the summer.  We had our last lesson, talking about how we as young ladies can be serving the Lord in ministry. As young people, we have so much potential for ministry.  The world often listens to young people rather than adults, and young ladies who are mature and wise will stand out in today’s culture.

The enemy doesn’t want us to be fruitful or productive and tries to distract us.  We should be taking advantage of time that we have now as youth and devote it to the work of the Lord before we have the many different obligations that come with adulthood.

Often times we think of ministry as something for missionaries.  However, God calls all of His children to serve Him wherever He places us.  Developing the skills and talents that God has given us is a wonderful place to start.  Also, we need to as be open and attentive the opportunities that Lord brings our way.  I handed out sheets with a list of ministry ideas for the girls to use throughout the summer.

Following our lesson, we presented a program for the families of what we learned in Bright Lights over the winter/spring.  Each small group gave a presentation on one of the lessons that we had.  As a large group we sang some of our Bright Lights songs and recited the Bright Lights theme verse: 1 Timothy 4:12.

Sharing during the program
Gaining a Clear Conscience
Truthfulness
Presenting the Gospel (Witnessing)
Understanding the Fear of the Lord

We enjoyed a special time of fellowship following the program, as families got to meet and visit.

Snacks and fellowship
The younger siblings enjoying snacks

We were very blessed by all the families that came out and supported their daughters.  A special thank you to all of the parents who have allowed their daughters to come to Bright Lights this year, some of which have driven quite a ways to join us each meeting.

It has been such a blessing to have each on of you girls a part of our Bright Lights group this year.  May the Lord bless you as you seek and serve Him, shining as bright lights in this dark world.

“Together we will be bright lights!”

“Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers,
in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
I Timothy 4:12