Go to BlessEveryHome.com and sign up to receive a daily email with the names and addresses of five of your neighbors so you can pray by name for them. This ministry is incredible! Here are 5 reasons you need to use Bless Every Home:
You are praying by name for people.
This prayer ministry guides you to pray specifically. Imagine what the Lord would do if his people are praying for their neighbors by name. Real people. Real close to you. You might not know them or their needs but you can pray for their salvation, family, or whatever else comes to mind. When you sign up, you receive an email every day (or on whatever days you choose) with five names of families near you.
You are conscious of opportunities to pray, care, and share.
When you log in to your account, you will see 5 main metrics on your dashboard: households adopted, households prayed for, households cared for, households shared with, households discipled.
You can click on the map option of your account and view the locations of your neighbors. When you click on a neighbor’s icon, you can record notes, or click on an icon to show that you prayed, cared, shared (the gospel), or are discipling that neighbor. Just having a system like this reminds you that your neighbors are there and that we need to love our neighbors (Matt. 22:39).
You can see others in your neighborhood who are praying.
Called “Lights in Neighborhood,” you can see who else is praying (they must be sign up for this ministry obviously). Imagine the power of the Holy Spirit you are inviting by connecting with others in your neighborhood and praying together for your neighbors!
Go sign up! What do you like about Bless Every Home?
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By Ryan Strother — 1 week ago
There were months of planning and now we are 3 episodes into the SCBgO Podcast. The leadership of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio (SCBO) approved the idea, episode guests have been so gracious in recording, and I hope people will listen, learn, and enjoy!
The idea came because I believe we need to celebrate what the Lord is doing around our state. As I have served the convention in an elected position the last year and a half, I have heard more testimonies of amazing ministry across Ohio.
Church members can often feel disconnected from the activity of their state convention, but we have the technological means to solve that problem. That’s exactly why the SCBgO Podcast exists: to motivate you to be active in Mission Ohio.
Even more specifically, here’s why I am working on the SCBgO podcast:
- To inform listeners of what is happening around the SCBO. Some might not know that First Baptist Church in Vandalia changed their name to First Light Church (listen to episode 1), or that individual churches can call the IMB directly and partner with missionaries around the world (listen to episode 2). Some of our church members might not know what the H2O network of churches is, and that H2O Columbus sent out 19 people to the University of Indiana to start a new church (listen to episode 3). When people know about this activity, they can praise God for it and pray for those leading it!
- To inspire listeners with practical ideas they might be able to use. There might be a church leader who is wondering how to go multi-campus, or a church member who really desires their church to be more active in global missions. Maybe hearing something on these episodes will inspire them to take the next step. The conversations in these episodes are intended to be practical and the show notes include helpful resources from which our listeners can benefit.
- To motivate listeners to be committed to Mission Ohio. I hope that someone would hear what is going on and would be encouraged that they are not alone. There are 750+ churches in the SCBO who are fighting the good fight of taking the gospel to our neighbors and beyond. Feeling disconnected can lead to feeling lonely, but we need every one of our churches active in the mission of reaching Ohio. There are plenty of people in Ohio who have not been saved by Jesus. We have work to do, and maybe someone will be motivated by these episodes to keep going!
Who is knocking it out of the park in a certain area of ministry that I need to interview for an episode?Post Views: 142
By Ryan Strother — 10 months ago
Have you ever gotten too close to something and intrigued by it that you just couldn’t leave it alone? Go back to the school bus in middle school with me. There was a hole in the upholstery of the seat in front of mine. It was awfully tempting to touch, pull, put stuff in, etc. Eventually, that hole became larger because of my curiosity! I probably wouldn’t have remembered this episode if I wasn’t called in to the Vice Principal’s office one day with the threat of having to pay to have the seat reupholstered!
My point–if you keep putting yourself around temptation, it’s easy to give yourself over to it.
Last week, I introduced the concept of religious pluralism and today I want to give the first of two dangers of religious pluralism: it can put you dangerously close to sin.
Look at the historical context of Judges in the Bible. The Israelites were led out of slavery in Egypt by Moses, then Joshua took over leadership after Moses’ death. After Joshua’s death, there was no leader in Israel to help the people stay true to the Lord. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.
Israel faced 3 major hindrances during the period of the judges: 1) not ridding the promised land of pagans; 2) idolatry; 3) intermarriage with pagans.
Pagan practices of the nations they failed to drive out heavily influenced Israel to idolatry. The phrase they failed to drive out/take possession appears 8 times in 13 verses from Judges 1:21-33. Repetition is important to note in the Bible because it alerts us and tells us something important. God’s response: He would not drive them out (Judges 2:3). Instead, those nations would be a thorn in their side and their gods would be traps to the Israelites.
Here is religious pluralism.
One Danger of Religious Pluralism: We Can Get Dangerously Close to Sin
Judges 1:28-35 mentions 4 times that the Israelites committed some of these groups to forced labor. It’s almost like the conversation went like this:
God: Manasseh, Zebulun, Nephtali, Dan— remove the Canaanites.
Israelites: It’s okay , we can handle them. In fact, we’ll commit them to forced labor like the Egyptians did to our forefathers.
The command is to cut them out of the land. But the Israelites say, no, we’ll
- subdue them
- limit them
- tame them
- master them
And look what happened.
Now think about your own life: 12So then, brothers and sisters, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, 13because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:12–13, CSB)
The command is to cut sin out of your life. Put it to death.
But we say, no it’s ok, I’ll
- subdue it
- limit it
- tame it
- master it
Well, how’s that going for you?
“Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned?” (Proverbs 6:27, CSB)
The Israelites thought they could just get along with these other nations. They would master them and not be affected. They thought: surely this is a better plan than God had. And those pagan cultures became a snare for the Israelites.
What are you getting too close to right now? What do you need to guard yourself from right now?
- Alcohol. There might be some who struggle with the temptation and lack of self-control leading to drunkenness and they need to keep it far from them. But one of these people might say I can have it in the fridge and it will be fine.
- Gambling. There are some who might struggle with greed and just don’t even need the temptation to step foot in a casino when invited by friends to go.
- Pornography/sexual immorality. Some might struggle with self-control and lusting, but they think they don’t need internet filtering or don’t need to limit their interaction with a certain person. They think they can subdue it. And sooner or later, they’ll get burned.
One of the dangers of pluralism is that we can find ourselves entertained by every ideology and begin to soften on our convictions. We begin to believe that maybe everything is true, which leads to pursuing whatever we want.
What are you trying to master by your own power?Post Views: 579
By Ryan Strother — 8 months ago
Ever listen to a boring sermon? As I preacher, I can honestly say that some sermons are more effective than others due to the preacher’s preparation and delivery. But the effectiveness of a sermon could also rest on the listener’s preparation and reception.
Preaching should explain and apply Scripture. It is a laborious work to preach; and it is a laborious work to listen and interact with a sermon. You might find Daryl Crouch’s article helpful on the listener’s preparation side, and I want to address the reception side by sharing a practical method of interacting with a sermon to allow it to be most effective in conforming you to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
I first read about the DOOR method from Adam Feldman in his book Journaling: Catalyzing Spiritual Growth Through Reflection (chapter 6). I want to share that outline, adding a few comments to each part.
When listening to a sermon, take notes! Here’s an outline you could use:
Adam says to write down the important details about the sermon preached, like the date, preacher’s name, sermon title, and Scripture reference(s). When I was preparing to officiate a funeral, I looked through the Bible of the godly woman we would remember. I was struck by how she wrote these details in the margins of her Bible. She has my name and “1st sermon at Central” by the passage I first preached there. The memories were remarkable!
I would also add that if you are listening to a sermon and these details are not easily found, especially the Scripture reference, you might want to consider if you are actually listening to preaching. Also, being able to look quickly to compare your notes when you’ve heard sermons from the same passage could be very helpful to remind you of the applications you made during those different seasons of life.
Adam recognizes that you must discipline yourself to listen for the “flow” of a sermon. Some preachers readily and easily give an outline, whether in print or verbally. I think this part of your sermon notes could help you become less distracted. You have to be intently listening in order to complete this section of notes. Listening for the outline/flow of a sermon will keep you from cherry-picking tweetable quotes without understanding the context in which they were given.
Adam points out that you should be observing three persons: yourself (What is going on inside of you as you listen? Are you open to receiving this message?), the preacher (what is he most passionate about in the sermon?), and the Holy Spirit (What is He saying to you?).
I like this reflective model of listening. It takes the main points you might list in the “outline” section of your notes a little further, setting you up for recognizing how you should be transformed by that Scripture. While Adam is right in focusing on your reactions to the message, I would say that you must be careful not to let your feelings during the sermon blind to the meaning of the biblical text.
For example, I know people who were upset after a sermon I preached it touched on a particular sin they were involved in. If they were note-taking during that sermon, they might have noted how they felt. Ultimately, they stopped coming to our worship services because they allowed their emotions to supercede Scripture. Always conform your feelings to the truth of Scripture, not the other way around.
Consider asking, “How will I apply the Word preached today in the coming days?” I like this final point because it does not allow you to leave a sermon as an academic or philosophic pursuit. The Bible is to be learned and lived!
Two common mistakes in responding is 1) being too general or 2) putting too much. If you are too general, you won’t actually do anything. Saying, “Speak encouraging words to my neighbor when I see him outside” is better than “love others more.” If you write five specific responses, you risk being overwhelmed and potentially inactive.
Try the DOOR method this Sunday. What other ways do you interact with a sermon?Post Views: 429