Devotion: Personal Evangelism

John 4: 1-26 recounts the time when Jesus went on a journey to Galilee and had to go through Samaria. Jesus sat down by the well and chatted with a woman who also came there. Now, despite their obvious social differences at the time, Jesus didn't hesitate to interact with her. He simply asked her a question. From there Jesus and the woman talked, and the conversation, like the well that they were sitting at, was deep and meaningful. Jesus revealed to her who He was, and her need for Him.

It simply started with a conversation.

Now Jesus wasn’t without his own challenges, He and his disciples needed to go to Galilee because of the Pharisees who weren’t at all happy with Jesus. So Jesus, could have easily thought to Himself I am tired and hungry, I can’t be bothered talking with another person at the moment. However, Jesus put people’s needs above all else. He is the Messiah, He is our Saviour and we as people need Him. People needed Him then and we all certainly need Him now.

So who are you going to start a conversation with? Are you going to put aside your own needs/challenges, social differences, or any other reason and simply tell people that you have Jesus in your life and would love to invite them to learn more?

Let’s be personal about our evangelism and simply share what God puts on our heart, just as Jesus did and still does. Let us share our hope and assurance in a God who holds the future and in whom we can rest and rely.

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A Global Advent: 25 Stories of God With Us Around the World: Devotional from Compassion Canada on YouVersion

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Breakthrough

Last Sunday was one of significance in the life of our church family. One that marked an end of the ministry of Bill & Chrissie Tyrie as Bill concludes his role as Senior Pastor here at MCC. It is one that is filled with wonderful memories, the good times, the challenging times, and it was different for everyone. One thing that we all can easily recognise is the way in which Pastor Bill has journeyed with us over his time here with the Spiritual Focus: Connection | Faith | Hope | Love | Growth | Fruitfulness | Restoration. What a joy and privilege it has been to see God work through His people here over these years.

This year is our year of ‘Breakthrough’. Like most years it has been filled with plans and events—some were welcome, and some were not so. (Covid’s continuation being one of the not so welcome.) Throughout it all, it is wonderful to be able to recognise God’s hand over us and the journey we travel. We serve an amazing God. A God who is not surprised by setbacks and unprecedented times. It is like the account in Luke 5:1-11, of Peter and the other fishermen being told by Jesus to cast their nets again, even after a whole lot of catching nothing. Yet once they followed Jesus’ directions they were amazed to see the fish in their nets. Not just a few, but overflowing.

As we reflect, remember, and look forward, we know that despite change, God is for us and is willing to direct us if we simply listen and obey. God calls each one of us for who we are, not for what we have. In other words, God sees us, the person, not our shortcomings, failings, and weaknesses. He can do this because of Jesus, who stood in our place and paid the consequences of all our mistakes and failings (sins). God provided Jesus, His only Son to do for us that which we couldn’t do for ourselves; and He is still providing for all our needs. Like the nets overloaded with fish, God will supply and provide to a point of overflowing. God wants us to have a deep relationship with Him and experience His guidance and power. He is ready to break through the barriers, the doubts, the challenges, and give to us abundantly. But He also wants us to share that love and grace with others, so that they too can receive salvation, freedom, and overflowing blessings. Are you willing to step up and step out as God leads?

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A Global Advent: 25 Stories of God With Us Around the World: Day 1 • Devotional Compassion

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Prayers for Evangelism

Paul writes some instructions about prayer in these verses...

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col 4:2-6 NIV

Its a call to action. We are being encouraged to be

Engaged in prayer, stay busy in it and persevere. It is not to be seen or thought of as an optional extra, but rather we are to be devoted and give of ourselves—give our attention and energy to prayer. We are to keep alert keep focussed—vigilant.

We can also see that thanksgiving is a key component of our praying. Remember praying is simply a generic term of communication with God.

Then Paul asks for something else, we get a prayer request from Paul. When writing this he’s under arrest—being detained in some form, he is confined. Paul asks for people to pray that God will make open a door for the message of God to be spoken.

Even though he is confined, limited and not as able as he would like, Paul is asking for God to step in and open the way for Paul to speak about Jesus and empower him as to what, when and how to speak.

These verses are a call to action and a great example.

We need to pray, we need to acknowledge we simply can’t do God’s work in our own strength, nor do we need to. We simply need to ask. We need to ask for ourselves and we need to ask for others and intercede for those who are speaking for God. We need to pray for our pastors, missionaries, all those in ministry, and in fact all Christians—as we are called to be ready to speak of the hope we have in Christ. (verse 6b and 1 Peter 3:15).

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Loving one another through forgiveness

I don’t believe any of us would have to think to hard or long to recall a time when we have been hurt or upset by another person/s. The truth of the matter is, we are not perfect—not yet! Actions of hurt need forgiveness.

When we are navigating forgiving others, we can sometimes think, ‘maybe they didn’t know it would be hurtful’. But there are other times it is very clear, peoples actions can be those that are malicious/mean/selfish/ etc. We have to make the decision over and over to forgive those who either intentionally or unintentionally left us scarred.

Forgiveness is a core value in God’s Kingdom and there is no better example than Jesus. Jesus is our perfect model of forgiveness. As Christ followers, forgiveness is not-negotiable, it is the very essence of our faith. After all, we can only be where we are, because we were loved enough to be forgiven.

Forgiveness was so important to God that He sent Jesus, therefore it has to be important for us. Whether we are the offender or offended, God desires to see His love demonstrated through people by giving or seeking forgiveness. We are meant to extend the same grace that we receive to others.

Forgiveness is not about making the other person change their actions, behaviour or words—it is about remembering how forgiveness has changed our own life. When we experience God’s forgiveness, we know the deep affect it has, and when we genuinely love others, we want for them to experience that gracious love too.

Is there someone whom you need to seek forgiveness?

Are there those you need to forgive?

Ask the Lord to speak to your heart and bring to mind anything that needs His grace and love.

God, when I am overwhelmed by the brokenness I feel and witness, please help me to remember that You see too. You are in control. I might not be able to stop all the pain and injustice I see, but I can overcome by doing what is right and good. Please help me to do that. Help me to forgive, help me to seek forgiveness, give me the courage and humility to love people well. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and guide me I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Pastoral Care month is a time to highlight that we need each other and ways we can do that. If you would like help, or learn more about Pastoral Care or perhaps joining the team. Please seek out a Pastor today, or contact the Church Office during the week.

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Pastoral Care—what does that look like?

There are many different ways to show we care, and caring is a privilege and responsibility of every member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:24-25).

Sometimes just showing up and being there for someone is a powerful way of comforting others. This brings comfort in simply knowing that when hurting, people can tangibly see that they are not alone.

Being present requires us to put our own concerns aside and give our full attention for that moment you are needed. Being with others and acknowledging the fact that they are precious and valued, is a wonderful and practical way to show God’s love and an incredible and timely reminder that they are not forgotten by Him. He promises us He will never leave, nor forsake us (Heb 13:5b).

As well as ‘being’, there are some ways to be ‘doing’ pastoral care.

Pray– Like all things we need to open our hearts to the Lord’s leading so we do as He would have us do. So we start with prayer.

Call– Get in touch, phone first. Depending on the circumstances, people may only be ok with a call at first. Allow them to guide you as appropriate. Perhaps offer to meet for a cuppa, or deliver a meal?

Resist-Sometimes we care so much we simply want to fix things. Here is where we need to resist the urge. Our role as pastoral care is to support and to show empathy, not to try and solve.

Empower and Encourage– Everyone is different and we will respond in a way often unique to us and our circumstances. In our being present for people, we need to encourage people to be ok to make their own decisions and do what they can for themselves. In some circumstances it may mean encouraging them to seek professional help in one form or another.

Trust– Confidentiality is imperative—we must not disclose personal information without the express permission of person/s involved. (Exceptions would only be due to requirement of the law or risk...speak to a Pastor if you are unclear on this.)

Pray– Just as we start with prayer—we continue in prayer. Offer to pray with people you are caring for. Sometimes people find it hard and intercession for those hurting allows God to do only what He can.

Pastoral Care month is a time to highlight that we need each other and ways we can do that. If you would like help, or learn more about Pastoral Care or perhaps joining the team. Please seek out a Pastor today, or contact the Church Office during the week.

Tender and compassionate God, You are our steadfast companion in the joyous times of our lives. When we rejoice, You celebrate with us; when we are anxious and afraid, You offer us a relationship where we can find courage to face the unknown; when we weep with sadness, You are our comforter. We give You thanks and praise for the wonderful God You are. We ask You to full us with Your Holy Spirit to love and serve one another. Bless us with wisdom and understanding and the courage to speak hope into despair. Thank You for Your Church, a family united by Your Son, Jesus. It is in His name we pray, Amen.

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Life can be unfulfilling- but with Jesus you can find meaning

There is an age old question... ‘what is the meaning of life’ and many have tried to answer it, some well, some not so well and a lot of us are still working it out. However, as Christians we can look to the One who has all the answers!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV, is a great place to start and reads…. “11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

There is a lot of Scripture about knowing God and sometimes, we can feel overwhelmed at the thought of the Creator of universe, the Almighty and All Powerful God would be interested in us as individuals. However please take courage, be assured, God wants us all to know Him. (1 Tim 3:3-4)

God is so interested in us that He sent Jesus as the way for us to come to Him. Jesus also shows us the way to live, which gives us meaning and purpose. Whilst in practical terms it will look a little different for everyone, there are some basic principles that as Christians we can all adopt. If you are reading this and don’t have a relationship with Jesus, then today, my friend is the day. Please seek out a person of trust and or contact us here at the Church, we would love to explore this with you.

For those of us who have accepted Jesus, we know we are forgiven, we also know we are not perfect and have work to do. Following Christ is not just a Sunday thing it is an everyday thing and God really wants us to know Him. We get to know God by reading His Word and communicating with Him, just like anyone else. This is a one on one relationship, but another great way to do this is in a life group. If you are not in one, then please take the leap and enquire with the office or the Pastors to help you find the right fit. Learning with others is always easier and we don’t need to journey on our own. God knew this when He created His Church.

So today, take time to reflect and ask yourself a few questions to check in and evaluate just how you are going with finding meaning in your life. Is Jesus the most important part, or is He fit in as you can. Be encouraged to ask Jesus to help you work it out, pray and read His Word and don’t be afraid to ask for help. We are all in this together!

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What does John 12:3 mean?

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