“Only 14 percent of young adults (ages 18-35) say they attend church because someone in their worship community cares deeply about them.”
What are you doing to reach the next generation?
Take a look around your church or small group fellowship. How many of your regular attendees are from the “next generation” following you? 10%? 20%? 50% or more?
If you see a healthy crop of young believers growing and being discipled in your church, congratulations. You’re a rarity!
As research shows, the majority of young people in our culture are suffering from serious neglect. Notably, they don’t feel anyone in church “cares deeply” for them. (Barna, 2019)
"Adjust and Trust!"
This is what I heard the Lord saying as I sat with Him recently. Many people are going through a season of transition where God's promises are visible on the horizon, yet not fully realized or accessible.
Flexibility and faith are essential in the midst of change. Do not be frustrated in the process but trust God to bring you through your transitions and into your promised land!
Here is a short word He gave me concerning times of transition:
COMING UP THIS MONTH!
The next E3 Prophetic Training Course will be starting this October, in just a few weeks! Join us online for this 6-week training and mentoring class and discover how to hear God better for yourself and how to encourage those around you with your prophetic gifts! Want to learn more? Click here or on the photo above to visit our info page or to register for this Fall's E3 class. We will be meeting either Monday nights or Thursday nights, based on participants' availability. Contact Deborah soon to reserve your space!
THE THREE DOORS
You His Inscriptions readers are an amazing group of leaders in your local churches, families, and communities! It is you I want to encourage today with this special focus on ministry.
As I sat with the Lord in prayer last week, He gave me a picture of three doors. With the exception of our quiet times, these three doors are meant to remain open, the Presence of God accompanying us as we pass through each door into different spheres of influence.
The first door was the door to our hearts, or our "innermost room." Jesus called believers to go into this innermost place and close the door so that we could commune with the Father in secret. The Passion Translation describes this place as the "resting place of His love" (Ephesians 3:17), the source and root of all that we do.
It is like the "Holy of Holies" - a sacred space where there is a divine exchange of our sin for His righteousness, our unworthiness for His love, and our humanness for His supernatural Spirit. It is the only place in Scripture I know of where we are told to close the door, seal ourselves off, and be alone. We "cap" our well, so to speak, for the sake of replenishing and purifying what He has placed within us.
The second door opened to those closest to us: family and friends with whom we live our daily lives. This represented our secondary ministry, second only to God.
The third door opened to the world of our communities, churches, and nations; our "metron" or expanded sphere of ministry. While many believers place this sphere first, that is not the biblical pattern. (See 1 Timothy 5:8.)
What exactly is this ministry? It is the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).
The beautiful truth of the New Testament is that God's "door" is always open. The veil that separated us from intimacy with Him was torn at Christ's death, and we are now able to boldly approach His throne through Jesus's righteousness! Hallelujah!
Paul said he "resolved to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2) The message of Christ is our ministry! For our message to be authentic and powerful, we must ourselves be ministered to by the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3, 4, and 5 describe a new perspective on ministry. Ministry at its best is not an "office" or a title, but a position of servanthood. Here is what one of the most qualified Jewish leaders of Bible times thought about Christian ministry once he was converted:
The lives of the people you minister to are your "letters of recommendation."
As you minister to people, Christ writes "living letters" on the tablets of their hearts by the Holy Spirit, His "pen."
Any competence or skill you have (think of Paul's amazing qualifications, all of which he counted loss!) is the direct result of Christ's empowering Presence. HE makes you an adequate minister, not your works.
You are sent forth by God with pure motives, speaking out of your union with Christ. You are an Ambassador for Christ, yet everything you say and do is heard and seen by your governing King!
You are a mirror which brightly reflects the glory of God. If your gaze is not directed towards His brilliance you will reflect only darkness.
It is because of God's mercy alone that you are entrusted with New Covenant ministry!
You preach Jesus crucified, not yourself glorified. You give yourself as a servant to those you desire to lead.
At times you won't know what to do, but quitting is not an option. Failure is not an option, either, when you are listening to the Lord and following His strategies.
You may be persecuted by people, but God does not forsake you.
Your body may be wasting away but your inner man is renewed day by day.
You don't live a self-absorbed life but a generous and poured-out life, because you follow Christ's example.
You no longer evaluate or judge people by their external appearances. Your new perspective in the Spirit enables you to discern the heart.
In short, God has entrusted you with the ministry of OPENING DOORS to Him, however you do it. The flavors of ministry are as varied as the people God calls! You might paint a picture, write a word, grow a garden, cook a meal, counsel the hurting, teach the ignorant, fight for justice, build for the homeless or give to the poor.
Yet no matter how you reach out, you are opening the door to what you have seen and understood about Jesus in your relationship with the Word. You are lifting the veil for someone else. Through you, God is pleading with the world to be reconciled to Him. This is ministry!
I pray that you will take time this week to reflect on why you do what you do as a believer and a leader. I pray that your ministry will always be authentic, borne out of a love for Jesus that is cultivated in the secret place of the closed door. I pray that you will emerge from your "Holy of Holies" full of the Presence of the Lord, flinging wide every other door that might be a barrier to someone else who needs Him. May you have a ministry of opening doors for those around you, so that all may be reconciled to God!
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
I am writing to you this week from about 35,000 feet - roughly 7 miles up - in the air.
Two of my children and I are returning from a visit to North Carolina with my sister and her family. My younger boys have never flown before, and one of the most wonderful parts of our journey is showing them what it is like to soar above the clouds, in a place where bright daylight is radiant no matter what the weather below. We took off in a fog; we now soar in a luminescent sky with pillow-like clouds that beg us to somehow step out and walk upon them!
The contrast is amazing. My boys have loved every minute of their flights to and fro, with the change in perspective they bring. To be "above and not beneath" (Deuteronomy 28:13) is a blessing indeed, and it started with a simple choice to shift our focus.
Not many Christians will admit to being angry with God. It seems unholy somehow, against the "rules" of Christianity that we have been taught. After all, if God is no longer angry with us, then what right do we have to be angry with Him?
Yet simmering beneath the surface, even the best believers have some level of anger towards God, anger they often won't admit even to themselves. Why? Because most of us, no matter how holy, deal with unmet expectations.
One of the greatest breakthroughs in how we understand God can also lead us to one of the greatest difficulties: God is a person! We can have a wonderful, personal relationship with God, yet that very same truth can become a stumbling block to us when we transfer natural human expectations over onto Him and forget He is also divine.
Living a godly life is actually quite simple: In every situation where you honor God, He honors you in return. One choice made for God, in the midst of many other potential choices, can mean the difference between a victory or a defeat in your personal battles!
So many of us long for more of God. More love, more intimacy, more security. I do, and I have talked to some of you who desire the same thing. The Holy Spirit is drawing us into a deeper relationship with a Father who SO loves His children!
At the same time, the enemy is launching wide-scale attacks to challenge that love. He’s presenting more options than ever to keep us from entering the secret place of God’s Presence, where we are renewed.
As I contemplated this, I heard the Lord emphasize one single truth: the power to fully comprehend God’s love begins with a life of consecration!
Far from a religious ritual, and beyond the obvious biblical requirement for priesthood, the Lord’s heart is to communicate how simple and how powerful our consecration to Him really is in our quest for more of Him. Take a moment to listen to His heart; to understand how HE sees consecration and the blessing it can be for you.
Most Christian leaders I know, including myself, have a desire to see the Kingdom of God expand. Some want to grow their churches, some want to send missionaries to the field, some evangelize the lost and heal the wounded, and some pray for revival.
Each of us has a part to play, and every one of us will have a different vision. At the moment, I am called to write, while you might be called to share Jesus in your workplace. God invites ALL of us to help build His Kingdom, yet we ALL need to invite God into our processes first to see His Kingdom expand!
If you’re longing to bear more fruit for the Kingdom of God, these words the Lord shared with me recently will encourage you.
An unusual thing happened the other day. The Senior Pastor of my church called me, out of the blue, to say hello. No agenda. No problems. No church business to discuss. Just a “Hello, how are you” kind of call.
That call was a HUGE blessing in my day!
Most leaders I know are pretty busy people. Heck, I am, too! When I hung up the phone after our call, I sat for a moment wondering: when is the last time a leader called me and didn’t need something? Wanted to just connect, for the sake of the relationship, not the “mission” or the shared purpose, whatever that may be?
Apart from a handful of very dear friends I know in leadership, I couldn’t remember. Leaders who lead with love are a rare and special breed.
Change is inevitable. Many people in the Body of Christ are going through intense changes right now: the loss of a friend, a spouse, or a child. A transition into a new job. A feeling that God is calling you to do something different in the next season than what you have done before, accompanied by a disconcerting sense that you aren’t sure yet how to do it!
A new Jewish year, 5779, begins this Sunday, September 11 at sundown – Rosh Hashanah. Spiritually, the number nine speaks of fruitfulness, harvest, birthing and creation. Politically, a new government is being shaped as we vote in the primaries this week and watch the “dethroning” and reseating of key justices in the court. Personal, political and religious seasons are shifting, for better or worse. Why?
A new season is here! It is important that we understand our place in the “new,” releasing the past and realigning ourselves with God and others for the future.
But how do we do that?
The first time I ever heard someone speak on prayer was when I was around 25 years old. I was helping to coordinate a large conference for Christians in New England, and I had a few minutes free between responsibilities. I slipped into a workshop on prayer with a speaker I had never met, and those few minutes changed my life.
Let me be the first to admit that sometimes, my prayers don't get answered. It happens to everyone. We're all on a journey, growing in the knowledge of who God is and how He works. No one - not even the most "spiritual" believer you know - has his prayers answered all the time!
But in 30+ years of growing in the Lord, I've discovered that there are some prayers that are powerful. More powerful than others. One such prayer is asking God for what we call "Divine Appointments."
I have a confession to make. There are days when I just don’t want to pray. Or write. Or do anything “spiritual.” I’m not alone. Pastors have days when they just don’t want to deal with another person, or another problem. Moms and dads just can’t fathom dragging their kids through another tedious family devotion.
Don’t get me wrong. I love prayer. I love all things related to the Lord and His Spirit. I love celebrating what He has done for us and getting to know Him, and His people, better. But I am just tired sometimes. My flesh cries out for “downtime,” for a place where I am relieved of responsibility and free to just “be.”
This week, I had the honor of interviewing Pastor Jason McGee, Senior Pastor of One Family Church in Shrewsbury, MA, for His Inscriptions readers. My husband and I have known Jason for several years, and helped him plant his church in Shrewsbury.
One of the things that most impressed me during the church plant was his emphasis on prayer. I was curious to know, several years later, how he views prayer and what priority he gives to prayer in his growing congregation. Here are his thoughts.
Ever attended a prayer meeting, only to find record-low turnouts? This may be the reason: 82% of American adults prefer to pray silently, by themselves. A new study just published by a Christian research organization, the Barna Group, gives insight into exactly what is happening in Americans' prayer lives.
Who is most likely to pray? What do we pray for? To whom are we praying? The answers are intriguing to me, and I'm guessing they will be to you, too! Today's post contains a link to an informative Barna Group article, which every Christian leader and layperson should read. Are we missing something by not praying together? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
© Deborah Perkins / www.HisInscriptions.com
Having a “Type A” personality has become synonymous with being perpetually occupied, moving quickly from one task to the next, or prioritizing tasks at the expense of relationships. Type A’s are typically happier when busy, value efficiency, and maximize the use of their time. I know what I’m talking about. I am one.
For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel.
~1 Corinthians 4:15, NKJV
"And pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." ~Ephesians 6:18, NIV
This week, I hear the Lord speaking to us of His enduring love. In the midst of a season that seems to derive its energy from excitement, anticipation, and creating special experiences for loved ones, I feel the Lord is reminding us of a love that is constant and enduring, one that doesn't depend on emotional "highs" to validate itself. The love of God is true and sure, constant and unchanging. Listen in to what He shared with me, and let the peace of God settle in your spirit, filling you with a hope that is far more exciting than what lies under your tree!
“The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter in law. “He has not stopped showing His goodness to the living and the dead.”
~Ruth 2:20, NIV
What is the best thing God has ever done for you? Apart from your salvation, when in your life have you been most aware of the goodness of God?
Many of you in the His Inscriptions community responded positively to last week’s post, which included a reminder of God’s promise to bless those who set aside time for Him. You may remember that part of the specific promise the Lord gave was to “release strategies to help you bring the full tithe of your time and energy into the Kingdom.” (For the full post, click here.)
This week as I studied, the Lord gave me a strategy to share with you, which I have found immensely helpful. It is the idea of a “mini” Christian prayer retreat. What I will share with you is an adaptation of a plan outlined in Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s new book, entitled “Living Forward.” (Click here to preview the book.)
"The more you rely upon the Anointed One (Jesus) and His anointing in you, the more life you will impart to others through your creations."
This is what God whispered to me this week. He is looking for people who rely fully on Him as they live, work, minister and create things for Him. I believe He wants us to move beyond the quick prayers we send up at the beginning of our projects or events ("Bless this, Lord...") and move deeper into a place of total reliance on His Holy Spirit. Listen to what He shared in my prayer time:
Free Link to the Subscriber Resource Library when you join His Inscriptions!
A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.