Every Christian is called to Bear Fruit!

24 10 2012

I’m often accused of being, “To focused on Evangelism”.  I’ve even had a few people say, “You focus too much on the gift of evangelism”.  I’ve looked, there is no “Gift of Evangelism” listed. But I noticed something, every person that has accused me… has no fruit.  They don’t evangelize.  Speaks volumes.

Here’s what I believe: We are on a mission.  As Christians we are supposed to have purpose;  Be about the Fathers business.  Telling the world about Jesus and His path back to the Father.  And yes I believe He has called you for that same purpose.

Every Christian is called to Evangelize!

We are all called and given different talents to be different parts of the body to be used in different ways. (1 Cor 12)

But we’re all called to Evangelize!  (Nobody is exempt).

Think I’m stating it to strong?  Consider Jesus’ teaching on the vine in John 15. (First look at verse 1&2.)

“I am the true vine, and the Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Look at how simple and direct this is, Jesus uses a grapevine to make these points:

Jesus is the Vine – You are a branch

God will do whatever is necessary to cause you to bear as much fruit as possible.

And here is a fearful and yet truthful fact:

If you are not a fruitful branch, God will cut you off!

Oh, we don’t like that.  It’s not comfortable or popular.  But understand it’s undeniable!

Some will say, Lynn, you are taking one story of Jesus and making too much of it.  Really?

OK, Let’s look at another of Jesus parables; The parable of the unfruitful fig tree (Luke 13:6-9)

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

There it is again, Jesus making simple, strong points:  We are expected to bear fruit! And if we don’t…He will cut us down!

Every Christian is called to Bear Fruit!





Overflowing Hope!

31 08 2012

Romans 15:4

4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Hope is found in; The “endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures.”

Drop down to verse :13;May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Overflow with hope. I like that. What does it look like in a Christian life?

I saw it in a College group in Tampa and It caused a lot of growth. Hundreds were added to the role of believers as a result.

It was the love they had and displayed in God and the love they had and displayed towards each other.

When someone see’s this “Overflowing Hope”…This “Love”.

They Want IT!

It’s what causes growth in the Lords Church!

But – are they seeing it in you?

What does the world see us focus on?

I’m too fat           Too skinny

Too Short            Too tall

Too Blond            Too Brunette

Too white            Too Black

Get the point?

Is our focus on us or God?

Don’t you know that God made you, just the way He wanted you to be?

You’re not an accident!

God said:   “I know you inside and out” – Psa. 139:16

“I saw you before you were born” – Psa.139:16

“I choose where you were going to live” – Acts 17:26

You’re not an accident! You’re not strange!

 

I think this poem by Russell Kelfer sums it up:

You are who you are for a reason.

You’re part of an intricate plan.

You’re a precious and perfect unique design.

Called God’s special woman or man.

 

You look like you look for a reason.

Our God made no mistake.

He knit you together within the womb,

You’re just what He wanted to make.

 

The parents you had were the ones He choose,

And no matter how you may feel,

They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind.

And they bear the Masters seal.

 

No, That trauma you faced was not easy.

And God wept that it hurt you so;

But it was allowed to shape your heart

So that in His likeness you’d grow.

 

You are who you are for a reason,

You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.

You are who you are beloved,

Because There is a God!





It’s Bigger than that!

14 06 2012

Jesus came to set us free from sin.  That’s good news to a world engulfed in sin…don’t you think?  But really, it’s bigger than that:

“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:18

And look at Romans 6:22&23  “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

You see it’s not just being set free from sin.  It has eternal consequences.  We are set free for eternity. That’s pretty good news.  But wait – It’s bigger than that!  It’s not just “our” sin that has been set free:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:1&2

Look at what that says; Those “In Christ” have been “Set Free” of Sin and Death.

I fear too many of us do not understand what that means.  (If we did we would be so excited to share it that we could not hold back and the Church would explode.)

Here’s what it means:  “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it,…”  Romans 8:19&20

Do you see it now? It’s bigger than that!

Ever since Adam and Eve ate that forbidden fruit, creation has been living under a curse.  This computer won’t last forever…carpet, cars, homes…you and me…mankind itself is in a state of decline.  Mankind has been trying to reverse this curse forever…but can’t.  The curse is irreversible.  The curse is SIN!

Sin is not just something bad we do! It’s bigger than that!

Sin is a curse all creation is under. Science calls it, the law of thermo-dynamics.  It means everything is in a decaying order.  Everything will fade away.

But here’s the good news:  Jesus brought the cure!

If you believe in Him and follow His teachings, we are set free from the curse…Forever!

Now tell me…Isn’t that Big news…news worth sharing?





Tent-making

5 06 2012

A new approach is being added to Campus Ministry United’s support plan. Beginning in May, I have teamed up with OkieBug Pest Control business to develop a ‘tent-making’ approach to campus ministry support. In these inaugural days of ministry planting we believe it will strengthen and stabilize the sustaining of new plants. This business has potential for minimal investment and feasible working hours that will allow for proper campus ministry focus plus a sustained income to support our people. We are modeling and developing this plan so to be able to train young new ministers. We are convinced this does not detract from trusting God’s provisions and appealing for financial support—our goal is to develop new ministries that will remain effective over time and reap the fruits of hard labor and influenced lives. We are trusting in the example of Apostle Paul who was never afraid of the present challenges. We want to be willing to do whatever God calls us to do to accomplish His Mission. We want to thank Randall Adams (owner of Okiebugs) for his vision and training for this approach. We solicit your prayers in this endeavor. We continue to thank you





Two Friends

30 05 2012

This story is about two friends, Joe and Bill.  Joe and Bill were best friends from an early age.  They grew up in the same town and went to the same schools but they were a year apart.  Joe and Bill were very similar in many ways but they had one major difference, their home life.  Joe came from a very loving and supportive family but Bills family was not much to speak of.  His dad left at an early age and his mom was a drunk.  Joe on the other hand had a mom who was a homemaker and a dad who provided everything he ever needed.  Joe was always getting to go to sporting events and concerts but the beautiful thing of it was that Joe’s dad would provide a way for Bill to go as well.   Never wanting anything was good for Joe but it built resentment in Bill.  He would bad mouth Joe’s family, slandering them but Joe continued to love him and share friendship with him.

Bill graduated and took off to college.  He started experimenting with drugs and began to drink.  Within months, he joined a gang and was barely surviving in school.  By the second year, Bill was a complete wreck.  Luckily this was when Joe showed back up.  Once again, Joes influence in Bills life was enough to shock him back into reality.  His drinking and drug use slowed almost to a halt and his gang life was almost nonexistent.  It was in Joe’s second year that the tragedy happened.  Bill got into some trouble with his gang and the only way that they would let him out for good was if he would complete one last job for them.  They wanted him to rob one of the largest drug dealers in the area.  This job was too large for one man to handle so he asked Joe to help.   Seeing that there was no way to talk Bill out of it and no other way around the situation, he agreed.

Things went wrong in the robbery and the drug dealer pulled a gun.  Before Bill realized what had happened, the gun fired and Joe was already between him and the drug dealer.  Joe was lying on the ground with a bullet in him and a pool of blood surrounding him.  Dead.  This crushed Bill for he truly loved Joe and he took a turn for the worse.  The next few years were a revolving door and a downward spiral.  The same old cycle, use drugs and go to jail.  After a couple of years, Bill got busted with a large amount of drugs and wound up going to prison on a ten year sentence.   Halfway through his time, Bill got a letter  from Joe’s dad.

Bill’s guilt from the tragedy kept him from opening the letter for the next year but finally one night when he was broken and afraid, he read it.  It was very simple and said, “If you ever need me, I’ll be waiting.”  It also contained Joe’s dads personal contact information.  It took a couple of weeks for everything to work out but Bill finally made the call.  Joe’s dad was extremely excited to hear from Bill but it was almost too much for Bill to handle.  He could feel the love that Joe’s dad had for him and before the call was over, he asked for forgiveness.  Joes dad reassured him that he was already forgiven.

The two men spent the next few years corresponding back and forth and built a strong relationship.  When it came time for Bills release, Joe’s dad was at the gate waiting for him with arms wide open.  Joe’s dad said that from that day forward he was to call him dad for he considered him his son.  Not only that but he had bought Bill a new car, a new house, and set him up with a good job.  He continued to pour out blessing after blessing.  Bill could not understand how he could still love him after costing him the life of his son.  He finally said, I deserve death but you bless me with life.

Joe’s dad explained; You see, Joe consented my advice in every decision he made.  When you were caught up in your drugs I sent my son to guide you out.  When you were in a life and death situation, I sent my son to protect you at all cost.  When you were living and making your own choices I still loved you as my own son.  When you deserved death, I gave you life.  That’s Grace!

Story by Jason Breeland





Time to Turn!

24 04 2012

From time to time I get an e-mail or a phone call from a Campus Minister asking my advice on how to turn their ministry around.  Usually they are shrinking instead of growing.   What follows is where I always try to start because I believe it is the basis of a growing Campus Ministry. It starts with four goals:

 

Seek the face of the LORD.

                Repent of sin.

                Humble ourselves before God.

                Cry out for revival.

 

In order to accomplish these four goals I suggest a Paradigm Shift (a turning).

1.  Turn from pride, smugness, and self-righteous attitudes and turn back to God in deep repentance seeking a whole new love for Him, His word and for all of His people.

2. Turn from impurity of life, compromise of sin and partial holiness and turn to Biblical standards of holiness and moral purity in our lives.

3.  Turn from placing primary emphasis on programs, events and activities to seeking His presence in our lives.

4.  Turn from prayerlessness (occasional prayer) to making our ministries and our lives, houses of prayer. Become a prayer culture.

5.  Turn from “going to church” mentality to “being the church”. Move from a “building our ministry” focus to a “Kingdom Focus”.  Move towards the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Move from a fortress mentality of “protecting our own” to an offensive posture of taking Christ to others.

6.  Turn from a “peacetime mentality” to a “Wartime mentality”.  Recognize that we are at war against our enemy, Satan, and arm ourselves Spiritually and use supernatural weapons of war that God had placed at our disposal. We must see prayer as a weapon of our warfare.

 

Please look over this list and feel free to add to the list or to comment on how we (the Church) can accomplish this task.





Rogers State Campus Ministry Plant

8 03 2012

CMU continues to make progress with exciting news concerning the efforts to establish a new campus ministry at Rogers State University located in Claremore, OK.  This up and coming university located approximately 12 miles northeast of Tulsa is primed for growth and opportunity.  With an 18% increase in enrollment in 2011 and present enrollment of over 4,000 students, the young campus has added dorm life and engaged student activities to encourage further growth and enthusiasm.  This ground-floor development places a new campus ministry in prime position to launch effective outreach and connection with people.  Our goals are now moving into reality as we announce opening this new CMU ministry at Rogers State University.

The fundraising for this plant has been at work for several months.  We are pleased to announce that Kyle Fanning will be leading this ministry.  Kyle has completed several years in the CMU Training Program.  He has experienced the dynamics of the Tampa and Corpus Christi ministries firsthand along with shadowing with ACB ministry in St. Charles, MO and assisting with AFC (Ambassadors For Christ) Ministry at FSU in Tallahassee, FL.   He is currently working on the Masters of Ministry Program through Harding University.  Kyle is ready to begin development of this outreach-focused ministry.

The preliminary plans will begin in June 2012 allowing time to prepare for kicking off the 2012-13 school year.  As God opens doors, we pray for additional team members to join this work and help develop a life-changing ministry with the good news of Jesus Christ.  We also continue to pray and ask that the fundraising needs continue in order to sustain this work.  Please contact CMU/Lynn Stringfellow with any help or contacts regarding this ministry.  We pray you share our excitement for this new addition to all our efforts.





Exciting news

5 01 2012

Exciting events are on the horizon for Campus Ministry United.  I am looking forward to all that God has in store for 2012.   Two new ministry plants are taking shape and concrete plans are forming for ministry students which equal people’s lives being transformed by the saving grace of Jesus Christ!

The ministry plan at Missouri State University has been approved and the fundraising is in progress. The East Grand Church of Christ in Springfield, MO will serve as the spiritual support and the local church home for seeking students. This congregation is very excited to be reaching out to young people searching for Good News.  

God’s Hand has been visible all through this plant formation. We have been training a three-person team for Springfield. There is much excitement about the activity God will accomplish in this place.

August 2012, Catherine Kraus and Lauren Burke (above) will arrive in Springfield ready to scout out the new territory. 

Catherine’s abilities will serve to organize and research all the possibilities for campus ministry effectiveness.  She has proven skills to assist in budgets and communication, or as I call her ‘my operational ninja’.   She has served two active campus ministries over the past 5 years.  After training and serving in Tampa, FL, she moved to Corpus Christi, TX and secured a job specifically to become an active member of this ministry.  She is very excited for the future adventure.

 Lauren Burke was converted in the Tampa ministry and was soon highly active in reaching others with the good news of Jesus Christ.  She has served for two years as an apprentice for this ministry in addition to committing to the two-year Masters of Ministry program through Harding University.  She is incredibly enthusiastic about the prospects at Missouri State University in Springfield.  She will focus on the developing the young ladies who are reached through this ministry. 

Both these young ladies that have committed their lives to the Lord’s work in campus ministry. They are willing to relocate to Springfield and secure jobs as they contribute to this mission on the university campus.

The third member of this team is Jeff Keely (above) who will be graduating from Harding University in December 2012.  He will then move to Springfield and serve as the campus minister.  Jeff spent two years in the CMU training program at Tampa and is now finishing his degree in Ministry.  Jeff has an avid passion for reaching young people with the gospel because he also was reached through campus ministry.   This experience and passion will make his work at MSU a joy and bring glory to our Father.

On my next blog I will share plans for the ministry plant at Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma.

As you can see, God is doing great things with CMU by expanding our territory.  I wish to thank all of you that support this ministry making it possible to “Reach the world by planting campus ministries”.





Stop Persecuting Jesus!

7 12 2011

Acts 9:1-6

Saul’s Conversion

1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

I find it interesting that God takes Satan’s hardest worker, who is on his way to persecute Christians, and steals him over to His side.  We know Saul thought he was serving God.  He was one of the witnesses at Stephen’s stoning.  Now here he was; “Still breathing out murderous threats against the Lords disciples.” Saul thinks, no he is convinced, he is working for God…but he is not!  This brings me to a point:

  • It is possible to think or even be convinced that you are serving God and yet be serving Satan.

You can serve as a minister all your life and on judgment day find out you have been serving Satan. (look at Matthew 7:21-23)

From the story we just read above we see that Saul is not only persecuting Christians in Jerusalem, but asking the high priest for permission to do the same in Damascus.  Saul is good at his job and wants to expand his territory.  But on his way to Damascus he has an encounter with Jesus.  Like every encounter with Jesus, his life is about to change.  I want to look at the first part of the encounter to make my main point.

God hits Saul with a light!  Think about that for a minute, the God who made lighting hits Saul with a bright light.  How bright do you think He can make a light?

Then God says in verse: 4 “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Saul says: “Who are you, Lord?”

Jesus answers: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

And that brings me to the main point of this blog:

When you persecute Christians, you are persecuting Jesus!

And that should make me stop and think;

  • When I complain about the song leader, am I persecuting Jesus?
  • Jim broke up with Sandy, I’m going to give him the silent treatment, Are you persecuting Jesus?
  • Bill wore those ugly pants, I’m going to talk behind his back, are you persecuting Jesus?
  • I tweet a hateful thing about another’s blog, am I persecuting Jesus?

When we persecute Christians, we are:

  • Screaming Crucify Him!
  • Driving nails in Him!
  • Whipping Him!
  • Spitting on Him!

 

We need to Stop and Repent!





Superman

29 11 2011

Christopher Dawson (an early 1900’s Author) wrote:

“Every Christian mind is a seed of change as long as it is a living mind, not dulled by custom or ossified by prejudice.  A Christian has only to be in order to change the world, for in that act of being, there is contained all the mystery of supernatural life.  It is the function of the Church to sow this divine seed, to produce not merely good men, but Spiritual men – that is to say,  Super Men.  In so much as the Church fulfills this function it transmits to the world continuous stream of Spiritual energy.  If the salt itself loses its savor, then indeed the world sinks back into disorder and death.”

What draws so many men to Superman?  I mean, I see t-shirts with the Superman emblem everywhere.  When you’re at a ballgame and they play the Superman song…men stand and pose like Superman.  Why?  Well, whatever the reason, we all have a desire to be something more than just mere humans. We all want a purpose.

Look at Christopher Dawson’s statement again; “It is the function of the Church to produce Super men.”

Think of this connection:  If we become the kind of Christians God wants us to be, we are:

Aliens in this world.  (Just like Superman)

Trying to save the people of the world.  (Just like Superman)

Only one thing could stop superman – Kryptonite.  (Sin is our kryptonite)

I think God wants us to be Supermen!  But how?

In His most plain spoken sermon, Jesus told His followers what we are to be: “You are the salt of the earth”.  Matthew 5:13.

Then came a blunt warning:  “But if salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

Then He continued:  “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

What I see in all this, God wants us to be Supermen and that excites me.

What do you see?