Make Your Church Attractive to Your Community

I believe that every reader will have a short list about why they chose the church they are attending. If asked by a friend about why you like your church, I’m sure you will be quick to tell them about the great praise and worship team, or perhaps the preaching, or even other things that you like about your church. But what do you think will attract the unbeliever? Spend time in the Word with me as we note the reason crowds were drawn to Jesus. Perhaps this will help us better respond to questions about our church!

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2021-05-01
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Mark 3:7-8
TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

BIBLE TEXT: Jesus went away with his followers to the lake. A large crowd of people from Galilee followed them. Many also came from Judea, from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from the area across the Jordan River, and from the area around Tyre and Sidon. These people came because they heard about all that Jesus was doing.

OBSERVATION: I believe that every reader will have a short list about why they chose the church they are attending. If asked by a friend about why you like your church, I’m sure you will be quick to tell them about the great praise and worship team, or perhaps the preaching, or even other things that you like about your church. But what do you think will attract the unbeliever? Spend time in the Word with me as we note the reason crowds were drawn to Jesus. Perhaps this will help us better respond to questions about our church!

APPLICATION: When we think that a friend likes great music, we will promote the great band that our church has, and the exciting Worship Leader who lends energy to our services each week. For the friend who likes to read, we may tell them about the emphasis our church has on studying the Bible. For the friend going through a rough time, you may tell them about the emphasis your church has on prayer. Of course, we all may have heard people brag about the love and care of the church members/attendees, and how they rallied around them on so many occasions of distress and heartache. But although many of these examples represent things that Jesus may have influenced in the lives of believers, isn’t it strange how seldom we give Him credit for all that He is doing in the church? Notice how, in our story today, that the people came from areas all around because of what they had heard about Jesus. Yes, this could mean that they came because of what others shared in their efforts to get them to meet their Savior, but friends, I believe that some of the first words from our mouth, when asked about our church, our ministries, our pastor, or our worship leader, is that Jesus is still the same today, as He was yesterday and the day before, and that we look forward to meeting with Him every time we go to church. Share how He healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, encouraged the down-trodden and gave hope and life to those who were discouraged and ready to give up. In fact, it is very evident that He meets with us each week as we open His Word, for our minds are made to understand; in prayer we speak with Him as One who is right there in our presence and we are encouraged to go on, knowing that the King of all kings still reigns, still loves and still cares for us like no one else could. Friends, this is not just words that we should speak, but rather experiences that we should share. In fact, this becomes reality as we leave our homes where Jesus has been present each and every day through our times of devotion, through our ups and downs of life, and through the answers to prayer for the sick and discouraged of our family. Then as we head to church to lift up His name and sing praise to our wonderful Lord, we are prepared to welcome Him in our midst and ready our hearts for a time of communion with our Lord – the Master and all gracious God. I believe that we have become way too dependent on entertainment, on things that bring us good feelings, on people who give money or things to us, and we go to church for more of the same. Please consider an intimate relationship with this great God of ours. Please consider going to church to lift up His holy name and bless others who need encouragement, and not for the selfish sake of getting your fill of blessings, although that will come when you do the things mentioned. Friends, this same God who created us and provides sunshine and food for us each day, loves us passionately and has a brand new home prepared for us, where we will enjoy His presence in band new bodies without pain and heartaches. Let’s learn to brag on Him more, and for all that He does through His humble servants at our respective churches. May He be glorified in and through us today, and every day.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, You are so good to me. You bless me beyond anything I can imagine. You even gave up Your life so that I might live eternally in Heaven. Please touch the hearts and souls of Your people today oh Lord. May we all be able to rejoice because of the Savior who loved us more than life itself; because of the Prince of Peace that calms us when life turns our world upside down; because You hear our cry for help and You answer our prayers with more than we could ever imagine or ask for. We just serve an awesome God, and we are forever thankful for knowing You as King and Lord of our lives. May all this cause an outflow of love and blessings to others that we come into contact with oh God. Be magnified in and through us, is my humble prayer. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Meeting the People Where They Are

Having just returned from a visit to the Bahamas, I can check off my list for having attended church there, and having spoken to many individuals with various needs – both obvious needs and some that were buried deep behind their serious faces. But Jesus’ visit into the cities and villages seemed to have been with a lot more purpose, and He obviously observed a lot more than I did on my casual visit to the Bahamas. Let’s meditate on the things that concerned Jesus, so our eyes might be opened to more as we visit people and places.

Saturday, 2019-01-26

Bible Reference: Matthew 9:35-38
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: 35 Jesus traveled around through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the Jewish synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever he went he healed people of every sort of illness. 36 And what pity he felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. 37 “The harvest is so great, and the workers are so few,” he told his disciples. 38 “So pray to the one in charge of the harvesting, and ask him to recruit more workers for his harvest fields.”

OBSERVATION: Having just returned from a visit to the Bahamas, I can check off my list for having attended church there, and having spoken to many individuals with various needs – both obvious needs and some that were buried deep behind their serious faces. But Jesus’ visit into the cities and villages seemed to have been with a lot more purpose, and He obviously observed a lot more than I did on my casual visit to the Bahamas. Let’s meditate on the things that concerned Jesus, so our eyes might be opened to more as we visit people and places.

APPLICATION:  I feel like God got my attention through this Scripture today, because I was reminded how calloused I am about the needs around me. I love visiting new places, and often I will drive away from those places with things embedded into my memory, but in reflection, the things that I remember are so insignificant in the light of eternity, or in light of the needs of the people that I met in my travels. You see, restaurant or hotel staff will often respond to you with the usual courtesies that we would expect, but how insensitive we are to the hurt behind those sad eyes, or the aching body that they try very hard to hide from us. Let’s look closely at how caring, purposeful and deliberate Jesus was in this short story: 1). Notice that He was deliberate in sharing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. Imagine having missed an opportunity to tell folk about the love of Jesus, and the Kingdom that awaits each of us when we graduate to Heaven, when many are often burdened beyond their ability to bear it here on this earth; 2). Jesus saw the need for healing, and He not only said that He would remember them in prayer, or told them that He loved them, or wished them well, but He healed them of their afflictions. How are you doing with that friends? Do you pray for those who are sick when you visit them? Do you follow-up over the next few days to see if they are doing better? 3). He had pity on the folk that were hurting. Do you feel the pain of the people you come across, or do you casually brush it off by telling them that time will heal all wounds, or telling them about a situation you had that was much worse than theirs? 4). It seems like Jesus was really saddened that folk were just wandering around without any direction, or hope in their life. Friends, there are many like this in our world today, and we have the answer, tucked under our arms, in our glove compartment of the car, or on a table at home gathering dust. Jesus is the answer to all of this world dilemmas, complications and issues, but unless we share that with them, they too may wander around aimlessly, like sheep needing a shepherd. The most important thing about this Scripture is wrapped in the idea that Jesus went out… He went through… He saw the needs of….. and He ministered to… ALL that He came into contact with. We may never see the sick, the downtrodden, or the needy in our plush sanctuaries, but we know they are out there. Shall we imitate our Master and actually get up, get out, and meet their needs where they are? I believe that Jesus expects us to: GIVE, since we have been given; BLESS, since we have been blessed; LOVE, since we have been, and are always loved; SHARE, since we have been blessed with so much more than many we would meet. Let us aim to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus today dear friends!

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You rescued me from my sin and distress, and You placed me on a mission that will land me safe on the other side – heaven with You and the Father. Thank You Lord for Your wondrous grace and Your tender mercy. I pray that all who will read this devotional today may stand in worship and adoration, with arms raised, and hearts that are warmed, because they too know without a doubt that Heaven is their final destination. If there is the slightest doubt in the minds of any, please Lord, tender their hearts and call them to Yourself. Many who know You are not as compassionate as You are about the lost condition, and the hurt that exists in the hearts and lives of those in our own communities, and especially in the lives that we touch while out of town. We need You precious Lord. Your tenderness, Your forgiveness. Your humbleness. Your unconditional love for ALL Your children. Oh that the ‘church’ will be so sold out to You, that the lost in our areas of influence will see You in us, and believe in You. May You be glorified today oh Lord! AMEN!