What’s Your Life Mission?

 I read a quote this morning that noted that nothing can hinder your life mission like a bad relationship. i immediately started reviewing my relationships; but then go to thinking about my life mission. What is my life mission?

What’s a mission statement? Organizations have mission statements. It defines their purpose and provides a standard to guide decision making. I found a web site, Missionstatements.com that you might find helpful. It describes personal mission statements: A personal mission statement provides clarity and gives you a sense of purpose. It defines who you are and how you will live.

it’s amazing how life just grabs us and pulls us along. We move from day to day doing what seems necessary, but with only vague direction and purpose. Is it any wonder that we feel confused and out of control?

Why not take some time and visit the missionstatements.com site? Review some of the example mission statements. Try to draft one of you own.  I will. I’m not sure how long it will take or what I will come up with but i believe it will be a useful exercise. I would love to hear what you come up with.

Then maybe I can examine my relationships and discover if I have any bad relationships.

Time for some thinking.

Be blessed.

Nick

 

Running the race

The Christian life is often compared to a race, but it’s not exactly like the races with which we, as sport’s fans, are familiar. For example, in track and field the most important thing is to get a good start. But in the Christian life, the focus is on the strong finish. 

Typically, the purpose of the race is to finish first. The Christian goal is to finish well. We are to finish strong, but we are also to know when it’s time to pass the baton to the next runner.

For Christians, finishing first isn’t the purpose. It’s running with love. That’s how the great crowd of spectators knows who you are, because of your love. The whole purpose is for others to know who your coach is and to join His team.

Yesterday, we closed a segment of Debbie and Terrell Reed’s race. Well done. Terrell loved to talk about his life before Jesus. He didn’t start well. He finished strong. He and Debbie knew when it was time to pass the baton. But most importantly they knew the purpose of the race was to run in love.

When my son died suddenly a few years ago, Rose and I were attending a “good” church. The attendance was growing. They had lots of programs for just about everyone. The preacher preached a good sermon. But when Jason died, the Pastor never came or called. He was out of town when it happened, but we never heard from him when he returned. It dawned on us that was not how church was suppose to be. We began the search for another.

In the life of Amana thus far, you couldn’t have a splinter removed without the pastor’s presence. Yesterday the continuing theme was love. From the board to the kids, everyone expressed the impact of having been the beneficiaries of agape love. That starts at the top.

Nice segment Terrell and  Debbie and a good pass of the baton. But I hear running shoes coming up from behind. God’s going to hand you a new baton. Be ready to make a clean grab. The race isn’t over yet.

God doesn’t have enough good runners. He’s not about to waste any of his champions.

Be blessed.

Nick

Getting your church healthy

I can across an article yesterday entitled, “Five Signs you are part of an unhealthy church.” Seemed to be to be an unhealthy point of view. We all could be healthier. So I have taken the points from that article and changed them to a more positive approach.

1. A Clear Vision. Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is  no vision, the people perish.” In my history with churches I get a little uncomfortable when “vision” is discussed.  Besides, isn’t the mission of the church obvious? Well maybe it isn’t. Some people see church as a spiritual hospital where the walking wounded come to be made whole.  That’s certainly a necessary ministry. Others take the great commission literally and think church is there to spread the gospel. Kind of hard to argue with that.


If you go to Amanacf.org in its new form (what a blatant plug. I’m ashamed of myself.) You will find the vision of Amana: Connect up with us as we build relationships with Jesus first and then one another, house to house, city to city, nation to nation. 

That’s a great vision. Putting it into practice is a great challenge.

If we start with relationship with Jesus and each other and focus outward we will be a healthy hospital for the wounded that also spreads the word. Sounds good to me. 

2. Leadership has two ears and one mouth.

Now in the article I read, point two of the unhealthy church was that leadership can never be questioned or challenged. I’ve turned that around. Good leadership in my view listens twice as much as it talks. We are in a leadership change so we’ll have to see how that goes. From what I’ve seen in the short period of the “new administration” I get a sense that leadership is ready to listen to us, the sheep. That puts a big burden on us to be wise in what we say. Hope we’re up to it.

3. You Are never Comfortable and always Convicted

I turned this one around completely. In an unhealthy church, you are very comfortable, but never convicted. I think about this one in this way. In a good hospital, you are cared for as long as you need it, then you are told to get out of bed.

So it is in church. Some of us need a time to heal. for the rest of us it’s time to get out of the bed (or pew) and get to work.

4. Congregants Are NOT Content With Being Pew Warmers

For this one I just added the word “not.” In a healthy church, the leadership challenges the congregation. But does so in such a way that all present want to get out of the pews (and not just to miss the rest of the sermon.) 

When a church’s environment is a healthy one, you should never have to inflict guilt upon people in order to get them involved. They will have a heart to serve, not out of guilt but out of desire. So leadership, I don’t need a guilt trip. I need a positive motivation.

5. Outreach is Always Planned and Preached

A church that never plans or even preaches outreach is unhealthy. When a church feels no need or desire to not only preach helping those outside of the four walls, but never does anything in its surrounding community, it speaks volumes. Outreach was and is the heart of Jesus. Simply having worship on Sundays is not church; it’s simply a meeting. The work that is done in the community to show God’s love is church. It is one thing to talk church, but it’s another thing to actually BE the church. If the church that you attend never preaches or plans outreach in the community, country or world, you are definitely part of an unhealthy church. Real church takes place by rendering service; usually outside the four walls of a building.

I changed the title of that last one but left the words the same. A healthy church specializes in OUTREACH and not INSIGHT. 

How healthy are you and your church?

Be blessed.

Nick

Growth spurts

 There is a magnificent evergreen tree on the road to our house. It seems completely out of place in the swamp like terrain of our neighborhood.  It towers above the small house near it and stands adjacent to a sugar cane field. I don’t know the species, but it looks like it belongs in the Rocky Mountains and not just outside of Broussard. My wife says it has been there for years. She insists it was Christmas tree size many of the twenty plus years we have been passing it by, but in recent years has shot up to its current height.
It’s so like we should be. We want our world to be more Christian, but the truth of it is that we are suppose to live in a world where we are dramatically different and stand apart. Folks should be saying “What is that?” When they pass us by.
Our growth should be like the tree as well. We may sit planted for years, but in God’s good time, he puts all the elements in place for a dramatic spiritual growth spurt. Maybe suddenly we experience more Son shine.  Maybe our life experience suddenly catches up with us and the fertilizer of our lives stops holding us back but now motivates us forward. Maybe we are pruned through tough times and tests.
Is it time to get noticed? Not for anything we do, but for what we are: Christ Bearers.  Stand tall. Many need to see that there is a better way.

Be blessed.

Nick

The Gift of Unity

Satan desires disunity in the church. How do we fight that? We use the tools that God has given us.

According to Ephesians 4, he has given each of us a spiritual gift that is given to serve one another. He has given you a gift. He doesn’t just pull gifts out of the bag and toss them around.Your gift has been picked specifically for you and for your situation. 

Part of mature responsibility is to learn what our gift is. We do that through listening, prayer and acting out the urges from the Holy Spirit. We listen and we do. 

But why? The gifts are the glue of the body. They are what holds us together. They provide unity.  We have unity when we have a common purpose AND a role to play in bringing that purpose about. 

This means that pastors aren’t suppose to do everything. It also means that church staff is not suppose to do everything. The pastors are the shepherds, the equippers, the leaders, everyone else is a minister.  We are all to minister to one another.

There is a church that is incomplete without you and you are incomplete without that church. You do not have all that you need, all that is necessary for your growth in holiness. 

We serve! We just do the work of the ministry, whether that is setting up and cleaning up or visiting people in hospital or making meals or doing one-on-one discipleship, and we allow the Lord to reveal our strengths and open up opportunities. In your church you may find that you have teachers and evangelists, encouragers and discerners and servers and so many others. And that’s perfect because there are people who need to be served and people who lack discernment or people who are desperate for encouragement or people who need to respond to the gospel. The Lord has made it so that each of us has a gift designed to serve the people around us.

Get yourself in place and get to work.

Nick

Untitled

“And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).
So far four of your brothers and sisters have offered to meet with me to share their story. Thanks to them all. We can look forward to hearing this stories soon. It’s never too late to add your name to the list. nsigur@gmail.com 
Paul tell us we need to be ready to share our story. 
He writes in Romans 10:13–15:
“‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (NIV)

In the original Greek, the word preparation used in Ephesians 6:15 can be defined as “firm-footing; a strong foundation.” We need to have a firm foundation in God’s Word.
This word preparation could also be translated as “readiness.” The idea is to be ready at all times to share the gospel
Sometimes we think that means we need to be ready to give a theological defense of salvation. That would be great. But what it really means is that we need to be ready to tell our story.  The plot of our stories is all the same in basic form:
1. My life before Jesus.
2. Jesus.
3. My life after Jesus.
We need a balance when we tell our story. If we spend too much time talking about our life before Jesus we are focusing on sin. That’s never a good idea. It’s not so important to list all the bad things we did. It is more important to share the emptiness of  that sinful life. We should talk about how we felt than what we did.
It’s next important to talk about Jesus. Sometimes we want to focus on the person, or church or ministry through which Jesus worked to bring us to Him. That leaves the impression that the tool He used was important. We need to focus on Jesus. 
When we talk about our life after Jesus, we need to be particularly honest. If we are honest, we have to say that we still struggle with the temptations of life, that life is not perfect. If we exaggerate the joys of the Christian life, we set up our listener for disappointment when their experience doesn’t match ours. 
Why not practice on a family member, your child, your parent, or your spouse? Just tell them your story focusing on those three elements. If you are having trouble, maybe you don’t have a salvation story. 
We need to make sure we have a story, before we try to tell one. 
Confirm right now that you’ve turned away from that old life, that you trust Jesus and intend to follow Him, forever.
Now, ask the Lord for an opportunity to share the gospel with someone today!
Nick

What’s Your Story?

Satan is the great enemy of God and his people, and one of his enduring tactics to disrupt the church and to hinder our witness to the world by fostering disunity. He does it by eroding the love between brothers and sisters in Christ.


Satan is actively working in every church right now to drive a wedge  between the people there.  He will split churches into factions by first making those Christians find reasons not to love one another, not to bear with one another in love.
We need to be aware of Satan’s tactics, but we don’t need to be afraid.  People in the local church are bound together.  We all chained together in unity through Christ, through what he has done in each of us.

The problem is that we don’t recognize the commonality of our experience with the Lord. Most of us know very little about how Christ has worked in the life of the christian who sits next to us in church. I would like to see us do something about that. 

I would like to do a series of interview with fellow Christians. I want to hear everyone’s story about what Christ has meant in their lives. If you would be willing to sit down with me and discuss Jesus, I would love to do that and record it so I could share the highlights with others who need to hear your story.

Please drop me a note  at nsigur@gmail.com so we can get together and record the good news in your life. Sharing our story is Jesus’ plan to spread the gospel. Let’s get to it.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Be blessed.

Nick

Personal Salvation – CorporateTraining and Service

I was born and raised a Catholic. I was born and raised VERY Catholic. I went to Catholic School. I served as a Altar Boy. I even went to the seminary for a year and a half. By the time I met my bride I had drifted away from that church, but I was still Catholic. She was a fiery little red-headed cute baptist. She greatly confused my world.


She used terms like “personal relationship” and “born again.” I thought she was pretty crazy but she was so hot… I ignored that. Okay so I was twenty. I proposed the same month I met her and we were married soon thereafter; but my confusion continued for many years.


I don’t think I’m the only one. I grew up looking to the church for all things spiritual: salvation, training, service. We evangelicals look at things differently. In fact, I think most everyone does now. Salvation is a personal thing. We are each responsible (that’s the key word) for our salvation. Salvation doesn’t come from membership in a church either by being born into it, joining up or getting baptized there.


So what’s the function of the church? The church’s job is to mature us and train us for the great commission. That sounds pretty simple but we still get confused. Some of us find God after joining a particular church so forever thereafter we associate our spirituality with that church or it’s pastor. We are confused. 


We say we go to a particular church because there we get fed. That’s a good thing. As long as we’re not getting fat. Too many of us never get past the getting fed stage. Our spiritual life consists of listening, and reading and learning and never doing. Jesus taught the disciples for three years. He sent them out, two by two, long before that time was up.


We need to avoid church confusion. It’s important we know it’s function and responsibility and separate it from our personal function and responsibility. 


Again to review: We are responsible for our salvation. We have to make a personal decision to abandon sin and follow Jesus. We are responsible to grow in our knowledge of Him (that relationship not seminary education) and to share that with others.


The church is there to help us with that. It trains and provides opportunity to serve.


There is an important side note to all of this. Just because someone serves and is trained in a church different from yours, doesn’t mean he isn’t a child of God.  That’s a source of way too much confusion and disunity. It’s important whom we follow; not so much where we do it.


Thanks to Rosemary I got that… finally. Hope it doesn’t take you as long.


Be blessed.


Nick