“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)
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!
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest and give Him no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.
~Isaiah 62:7, ESV
I believe that today the Lord wants to both encourage and honor His "watchmen:" those who regularly wait and watch for Him in prayer!
Most of you reading this have an interest in either prayer or the prophetic gifts, and many are called to be “watchmen:” intercessors and prophets for the Body of Christ.
Watchmen (and watchwomen!) are appointed by God to serve as protectors of the Kingdom’s flock. (See Ezekiel 33:7.) They devote hours of their time, usually unseen and often at night, listening to the Lord and praying His heart for His people. Because they make themselves available to Him, they become the first line of defense when the enemy tries to ravage the flock.
I saw this truth demonstrated dramatically during my prayer time one morning.
As I listened to the Lord last night, I felt His heart of compassion and I believe strongly that He asked me to simply pray for you today. Prophetic words are wonderful, teaching and devotionals help us grow, but there is nothing like the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit in prayer!
There is no distance in the Spirit (see Colossians 2:5; 1 Cor 5:3a). God is omnipresent and unlimited in His ability to reach anyone, anytime, anywhere. As I pray in the Spirit for you, and you agree with me, I believe I am effectively standing beside you, IN HIM. Our unity with the Savior means we are never alone!
Please join me in agreeing for these very biblical promises and blessings to take place in your life today! Read them out loud over yourself; insert your name if you'd like to make them more personal. They represent God's heart 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.
Today, I want to share with you the third (and final) portion of the Prophetic Word for 2019. This part focuses on the coming harvest and the desire God has for us to use our gifts to build the Kingdom of God. Sharing your gift matters! I pray that this portion of the word for this year will inspire you to collaborate with God and see His promises come to pass in your world!
Remember, prophecy is an invitation to partner with God to bring His life-giving Kingdom to earth. Without your participation, that task would be impossible! God has chosen to include you in His harvesting process, to use the unique gifts and talents He gave you, and to give you great joy as you see Him move. Listen carefully to what He's promising here - and even more closely to what He's asking from you.
The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry.
I hear the Lord saying: “At present, you are more like a water spigot than a fountain. You are connected to your Source and can access My power, but you enjoy the ability to turn on or off the water at your own good pleasure. I would rather you be a fountain flowing continuously, not a spigot flowing sporadically. For this, you will need to yield full control to Me.”
Destiny Conference Video Just Released - Please Watch and Share!
*Please note: $30 Registration online by June 6th, 2018.
$35 registration at the door on day of event.
Registration fee includes catered lunch by Tabitha's Table!
Location: Freedom Worship Center, West Boylston, MA (Rte 12)
Click registration button for more info and full schedule.
Need a printable flyer for church bulletins? Click here!
Questions? Contact Deborah here.
This morning as I prayed, I heard the Lord saying: "When you realize that I never leave you, it will change your life. Where you see separation, I see unity. Where you feel division, I feel only love. The measure of My love does not depend on the size of your container! I will pour until you overflow... you cannot contain My glory!"
What does it mean to you to serve God?
For most Christians, serving God is a joyful expression of our translation from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light. We exchange bad habits for good ones, spend time in Bible studies instead of bars, and invest our talents into churches, ministries, and good causes throughout the world. We hope that our investments will yield eternal rewards. Some time later, though, we may wonder, is this all there is to Christianity? Just meeting the needs of my church?
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."
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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.