Georgia Barnette is at Work!

Our Louisiana Baptists State Missions Offering, the Georgia Barnette Offering, is a great spark for missions all over Louisiana. In 2021, we received just under $1.6 million for the offering and this money has been at work across the state of Louisiana this year! As Louisiana Baptist churches give to the 2022 offering, here is a brief run down of some of this year’s Georgia Barnette expenditures, as of September 1st:

  • $75k in scholarships for ministerial students.
  • $206k in church planting and compassion ministry funding for over 100 projects across the state.
  • $92k in funding for the Mission Builder program providing construction resources and volunteer mobilization for church building projects across Louisiana.
  • $55k for training and networking events for leaders in non-English speaking churches in Louisiana.
  • $18k for African-American church leadership development and networking events.
  • $20k for special evangelism projects including Prison outreach and evangelistic event support.
  • $92k for Collegiate Ministry, including Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) at Grambling University and Southern University in Baton Rouge and Summer Missions support for Baptist Collegiate Students.
  • $35k for the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Extension at Angola State Penitentiary.
  • $56k for ESL (English as a Second Language), Multi-housing, and Chaplaincy training and projects across Louisiana.
  • $40k for Disaster Relief Training and Projects.
  • $26k for women’s ministry support, including Crisis Pregnancy / Sanctity of Life Projects and job training for women in crisis situations.
  • $150k for the Here for You Multimedia campaign.

Still around $550k to be distributed over the next four months. It’s always a lot of fun to watch the Georgia Barnette offering at work! Find out more about the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering at GeorgiaBarnette.org. Watch for opportunities to give through your church this Fall, or give RIGHT HERE. Let’s be faithful to provide this spark for missions in Louisiana!

Fall Beans are Coming In

It has been a great year for beans. In the spring, we grew 82 pounds of beans in about 135 square feet of space. That’s plenty for our family, with a bunch to give away to friends. They are fun to grow. They look great. And they produce great yields in small spaces. We grow Bush and Pole beans, devoting 1 to 2 of our trellis beds to beans each season. If your goal is to take an item or two out of your grocery budget, green beans should be on the list. We haven’t bought beans in years. 82 pounds would be approximately $135 worth of canned beans from the grocery store. They are easily saved in the freezer or can be canned for long-term storage. Beans are a great option for any Back Yard Garden.

Our bean beds are fertilized mainly with compost produced right from our 4/10’s of an acre. We use Sustane 4-6-4 for a side dress every 2-3 weeks. I actually put this stuff on everything around our yard. It’s a great price and adds growth potential to every plant. One bag usually lasts 6 months.

Check out my new Site – Louisiana Raised Beds. Subscribe to that site for more Back Yard Gardening info.

“God still loves the country too”

Great story of Rural Replanting happening in Mer Rouge, Louisiana.

Develop a New Habit: Scripture Memory

StockSnap_ZBW2P0D543One great way to get a grip on the Bible and the promises of God is through developing the habit of Scripture memory. Nothing has helped me more with this pursuit than The Bible Memory App. This App has been a daily companion for over four years now, helping me commit over 2,000 verses to memory. Here’s a list of my posts on Scripture Memory, including info on getting started with the Bible Memory App. I’ve never regretted a moment that I’ve invested in memorizing God’s word. The Bible Memory App helps me stay on a good plan for reviewing and mastering verses. Check it out!

  • Cultivating the Habit of Scripture Memory – Link
  • Why and How to Memorize Scripture – Link
  • Getting Started with the Bible Memory App – Link

The PRO version of the Bible Memory App is only $9.99. Get 20% or a couple bucks off with this link – PRO.

Shout Outs: John Mark

In Colossians 4:7-18, the Apostle Paul closes his letter to the church at Colossae, with ten “Shout Outs” to friends who were with him on a mission across Asia Minor. A Shout Out is simply a public acknowledgment of good. Paul closed most of his letters with a list of shoutouts. These were one or two-sentence acknowledgments of their contribution to his ministry and life.

These shout-outs from Paul remind us that he was not alone. And neither should we try to be as we live life and participate in God’s mission. Christianity is about relationships. The church is simply a group of friends that are pursuing God’s mission together. Jesus had the twelve. Paul had around 35 that he mentions across all of his letters. The model is Friendship + Mission. There is no such thing as solo Christianity.

Paul’s fourth Shout-Out goes to Mark. Evan McGinty gave a great message on John Mark’s life at my church recently. Here’s what we know about Mark:

  • Mark is on the 1st missionary journey with Paul, but for some reason, he abandons the team.
  • On the second missionary journey, Barnabas and Paul disagree about Mark’s usefulness. Paul did not want him to go. Barnabas (possibly his cousin, and the encourager in chief) did. Their disagreement leads to a split. Two teams form. One with Mark and one without Mark.
  • Years later, Paul, who we last see rejecting Mark, is writing his epistles and he shares some words of redemption. He calls Mark a “fellow worker” in Philemon. And he comes right out and says that he is “useful” in 2 Timothy.

So what can we say about Mark? He got back up. Though he abandoned the team once, he proved his usefulness once again. He didn’t let the regret, the awkwardness, or the fear of others’ opinions keep him from getting back on track with God and the mission. He grew through his own failure and regained the trust of his companions. He didn’t stay down.

Also, Paul didn’t keep him down unnecessarily. Though Paul expressed doubt about his character. His doubts weren’t permanent. He allowed Mark to return to the team.

You may have experienced both sides of this story.

  1. We’ve let our church or group of friends down and worried about what might happen if we try to go back.
  2. Or, we’ve had a friend or partner let us down and wanted to banish them from our circle of trust forever.

Neither is the wise path. Redemption is at the heart of the gospel and believing in redemption means we can get back up when we fall and we can trust and partner again with someone who has fallen.

God has a long history of using people who fell down. If we actually believe in the gospel and in the power of God to restore, we must be committed to helping others get back up and allowing others to get back up and be used in ministry again.

No one can say – I’ve never fallen down. No one can say – I can never get up. We will all need grace and mercy and redemption at some point in the journey. Let’s be grateful to God for its abundance. And let’s abundantly share it with others as needed.

7 Types of Christian Suffering

Throughout the New Testament, persecution and suffering are presented as foundational elements of the Christian faith. Jesus said in Matthew 5:11 – You are Blessed when you are insulted, persecuted, falsely accused. He says that we should, “Be glad and rejoice” Matthew 5:12, and “leap for joy” (Luke 6:23) when this happens. Really? A few other verses: 

  • 2 Timothy 3:12 – “all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”
  • Acts 14:22 – “It is necessary to go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God”
  • Philippians 1:29 – “it has been granted to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him”

What are we to make of these and other words of Jesus and the Apostles on the issue of suffering? 

Defining Christian Suffering

First of all, it’s worth noting that we’re talking about suffering and being persecuted because of your relationship with Christ and his work in and through your life. We can make ourselves martyrs in a prideful way, pointing out how hard we work compared to others and in attempts to get the recognition of others. This usually is not about the righteousness of God but the self-righteousness of man. Jesus gets little glory from prideful martyrdom.

Also, some are persecuted because of rudeness, annoying behavior, or for being jerks, not necessarily for representing Christ. When we set out to offend for the sake of offense, we are not following the way of Christ.

Jesus warns us over and over about the reality of suffering for his followers. He is preparing us for the collisions that are inevitable for those living out his values in a hostile, foreign land.

Christian Suffering Around the World

Did you know? In just the last year, there have been…

  • Over 260 million Christians live in places where they experience high levels of persecution
  • 4,305 Christians were killed for their faith
  • 1,847 churches and other Christian buildings were attacked.
  • 3,150 believers detained without trial, arrested, sentenced, or imprisoned

There are many Christians that are suffering persecution around the world. They lead the way for us in standing up for Christ and representing Christ, even in the face of threats. Find out more about modern-day persecution and ways to help at OpenDoorsUSA.org and Persecution.com.  

7 Types of Christian Suffering

Life in Christ may bring you face to face with at least 7 types of suffering and persecution. You can also see levels of maturity in these 7 types as well. Or degrees to which you are willing to say “Yes” to following Jesus, and no to self and the world.  

1. Discipline and the Natural Consequences of Sin – Revelations 3:19; Romans 6:23; Proverbs 12:21; Isaiah 57:21; 

There is a fair amount of suffering in the world, just because of sin and the reality of life in a fallen world. We suffer oftentimes because of our sinful and foolish choices and/or the sinful and foolish choices of others. God also promises discipline for followers that step out of his will. This may mean he allows consequences in our lives that lead to suffering and pain so that we may learn a lesson. There are costs, painful costs to disobedience and choosing the way of the flesh and the world. Many people are stuck in the painful cycle of sin – consequence – start over —- sin – consequence – start over. The suffering we feel at this level is meant to help us want to break out by God’s power.  

2. Self-Denial and Humility – Mark 8:34; Philippians 2:3-4 

One of the first level, basic calls of life in Christ is to deny self. This includes saying no to entitled living and making life about God’s glory and the needs of others. When we’re immature in the faith, this can be painful and a type of suffering. We must say no to our fleshly nature, to the ways of the world, to relationships that may lead us astray. Denying self leads us to spiritual maturity and life on mission. We discover that joy is found in life that is about God and others. But there may be painful breaks with the sin nature and its ties before this discovery. Necessary pain for those who desire to grow in Christ. 

3. Risk-taking and Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone – 1 John 3:16-18; 2 Corinthians 1:5-7

Beyond self-denial, the Christian begins to take opportunities to live unselfishly with intentional choices that make life easy for others but harder for ourselves. As it says of Jesus in Philippians 2:5-8, he chose the good of others every chance he had, even to the point of death. This may include simple things like hospitality and opening your home for others, taking a mission trip to a third world country, living with radical generosity in financial decisions, mentoring or taking in a child that is without a family, teaching a small at church, sharing the Gospel with a friend or neighbor. These things are sometimes risky, intentional steps of generosity and servanthood that are inconvenient and uncomfortable. For the growing Christian, serving God and meeting the needs of others is becoming more important than his/her own discomfort. So it may only seem like suffering in the eyes of others.   

4. Being Misunderstood and Misrepresented. 

The relational aspect of following Christ can be hard. All relationships are hard. But when you put yourself out there in love with others, you will likely get hurt. Jesus’ closest disciples caused him some of his greatest grief through their betrayal and abandonment in time of need. Sheep bite. Hurting people, hurt people. Leaders and people that are serving have a target on their backs. In stepping out to shepherd and serve others, you can expect to be misunderstood, misrepresented, gossiped about, betrayed, and treated unfairly. It is painful every time, no matter how well prepared you believe you are for it.  

5. Experiencing Spiritual Warfare – Ephesians 6:11-12; Revelation 2:10 

Spiritual Warfare could be related to each of these seven types in some way. When you get out of the sin – consequence – start over the cycle, and began denying yourself, taking a risk for the sake of the gospel, you will get the attention of the spiritual forces arrayed against God and his glory. They can’t touch Him, but they can influence you. We must be aware that spiritual warfare is a reality, but it’s one that we can overcome in the power of Christ and his work in our lives (see Revelation 12:11). 

6. Being targeted for What You Say and Who You Are – 2 Peter 2:2-3; John 3:13

Around the world, believers experience social persecution and isolation. Imagine if just because you’re a Christian, you can’t get a job, go into a store, or access certain services. We may experience some of this in our country or in isolated places, like being targeted for gossip or not included because of our faith. And some may lose social standing for choosing to follow Christ. Are you ready to follow Jesus, even if you lose social standing?

7. Being Tortured or Killed for What You Say or Who You Are – Acts 5:40; Revelation 12:11 

Many believers throughout history and still today experience the threat of physical pressure and persecution because of Christ. Many have been arrested, punished, or killed for being Christian. Are you ready to follow Jesus, even if you lose your life? 

Responding to Suffering and Persecution:

  • Embrace it as a lifestyle. 1 Peter 4:1. From breaking out of the clutches of sin, saying no to self, taking a risk for the good of others, and the growth of the gospel, suffering is a way of life for those who follow Christ. 
  • Recognize its benefits. Romans 5:3; 2 Corinthians 4:17. Suffering produces! It produces endurance, character, hope, and longing to see and experience more of Jesus’ power. When you’re suffering, you’re in good company as well. Spiritual giants through the ages have faced suffering with great faith and are promised a reward in eternity.   
  • Trust God to bring justice. 1 Peter 2:23; Romans 8:18. When we suffer, our natural tendency is to consider the unfairness or maybe respond in revenge. The example of Jesus reminds us that it’s not our place. God will bring justice and a reward awaits those who suffer for righteousness and because of Christ. 

Next Steps: 

  • Is your Christian life all about avoiding suffering instead of embracing it? 
  • Is the fear of losing worldly pleasure or relationships keeping you from fully following Jesus? 
  • What entitlement do you need to deny or what risk do you need to take to grow in your Christian life this year?

Shout Outs: Aristarchus

In Colossians 4:7-18, the Apostle Paul closes his letter to the church at Colossae, with ten “Shout Outs” to friends who were with him on a mission across Asia Minor. A Shout Out is simply a public acknowledgment of good. Paul closed most of his letters with a list of shoutouts. These were one or two-sentence acknowledgments of their contribution to his ministry and life.

These shout-outs from Paul remind us that he was not alone. And neither should we try to be as we live life and participate in God’s mission. Christianity is about relationships. The church is simply a group of friends that are pursuing God’s mission together. Jesus had the twelve. Paul had around 35 that he mentions across all of his letters. The model is Friendship + Mission. There is no such thing as solo Christianity.

Paul’s third Shout-Out goes to Aristarchus. Here’s what we know about Aristarchus:

  • He was from Thessalonica (Acts 27:2). A busy seaport city along the Roman Road.  
  • He was with Paul during the Ephesus riot (Acts 19:21-29). The silversmith Demetrius, out of fear of losing his business making statutes of Artemis, riled up the city against Paul and his companions. Aristarchus was drug through the city and threatened.
  • He traveled with Paul all the way to Rome as a prisoner or just a companion (Acts 20:1-3; 27:1-2). Which meant he went through a harrowing experience with the sea, that ended in a shipwreck on an island called Malta.  
  • He was a fellow prisoner and fellow servant of Paul’s. It’s unclear if he was also arrested and sent with Paul to be tried or if he was just traveling with Paul as a friend and an aid on the harrowing journey. The latter seems more plausible, making Aristarchus an even greater friend. He chose imprisonment with his friend over himself.
  • A loyal friend to Paul through thick and thin. How loyal? Dragged through the streets of Ephesus by a mob loyal. On a harrowing boat trip to Rome loyal. Shipwrecked on a foreign island loyal. Under house arrest facing execution at the hand of a Romans Emperor loyal.
  • Through trials and hardships. Through thick and thin. Aristarchus SUFFERED with Paul.

If you read the New Testament, you’ll find suffering is a foundational element of the 1st century understanding of Christian belief and practice. And suffering TOGETHER can also be said to be a foundational Christian belief and practice. Among the 40+ “one another” verses in the New Testament, we find challenges to suffer together. I see three levels of Suffering Together. Each requires a depth of character and unselfishness as we do life together.

1. Concern for One Another – 1 Corinthians 12:25 – Suffering together starts with a basic concern or interest in the needs of others. This means we devote time and attention to what another is experiencing, putting ourselves in their place, imagining how we might be of service to them in their time of need. And this concern should be as great as your concern for yourself (Matthew 22:37-39, 1 Corinthians 10:24). Is there room in my heart to consider and devote time and attention to the needs and suffering of others?

2. Suffer with One Another – 1 Corinthians 12:26 – The next level of suffering together is entering into that suffering with another person. Paul challenged the believers in Rome to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Concern can be applied from a distance, but suffering together means we make an effort to be present with the person during their time of need. Do I have the strength of character and unselfish willingness to sit and stand with another person in their suffering?

3. Carry one another’s burdens – Galatians 6:2 – A final level of suffering together is making an effort to lighten the burden of suffering another is experiencing. Whether it’s physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual, there are things we can do to lift another person who is experiencing difficulty. Am I willing to sacrifice and give time, resources, and energy to help a fellow believer who is suffering?

Aristarchus definitely did all three of these for his friend Paul. His concern led him to suffer with and help carry Paul through the struggles of early apostolic ministry. Tradition tells us that Aristarchus became a Pastor in Syria and eventually suffered execution himself during Nero’s reign.

I’m glad I can say that I’ve experienced Christian friendship at each of these levels. Fellow believers regularly communicate their concern for my well-being. Fellow believers have walked with me, listened to me, and prayed for me through difficult seasons of life. And fellow believers have sacrificed themselves to lift my burdens. I want to be faithful to do the same for others. Let’s keep the Aristarchus spirit alive in the church today.  

Shout Outs: Onesimus

In Colossians 4:7-18, the Apostle Paul closes his letter to the church at Colossae, with ten “Shout Outs” to friends who were with him on a mission across Asia Minor. A Shout Out is simply a public acknowledgment of good. Paul closed most of his letters with a list of shoutouts. These were one or two-sentence acknowledgments of their contribution to his ministry and life.

These shout-outs from Paul remind us that he was not alone. And neither should we try to be as we live life and participate in God’s mission. Christianity is about relationships. The church is simply a group of friends that are pursuing God’s mission together. Jesus had the twelve. Paul had around 35 that he mentions across all of his letters. The model is Friendship + Mission. There is no such thing as solo Christianity.

Paul’s second Shout Out went to a young man named Onesimus. Onesimus’ name means useful. However, indications are that the trajectory of his life was headed the opposite way when he met Paul. In the book of Philemon, we learn that Onesimus is actually a runaway slave. We’re not sure of all the details of his enslavement or the reasons for his attempted escape, but somewhere along the way he meets Paul and becomes a believer in Christ, brother in Christ, including a brother in Christ to his Christian enslaver, Onesimus. Paul sends Onesimus back to Philemon with a letter urging him to forgive and restore him. We don’t know Philemon’s response to the letter, but we can infer that he received it positively, because Paul is counting Onesimus as a useful friend on the mission in Colossians 4. Also, legend tells us that Onesimus later becomes a pastor in Ephesus.

Larry Johnson preached a great message at our church on Onesimus in June 2022. Here are three points he made about Onesimus’ story:

1. Christ Changes Relationships and People.

When Onesimus found Christ, he was forever changed (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). And his relationships were forever changed. Philemon and Onesimus were now brothers in Christ. Paul used the nature of their now new relationship to urge Philemon’s forgiveness. And Onesimus’ relationships were changed. He would have to reconcile his past to move on with God. This leads us to the next point.

2. Christ Changes the Past.

The past does not automatically get wiped away. It must be faced honestly to move forward with God. But Onesimus now had the power inside of him to help him live up to his name. No longer useless, fugitive, slave. Now a useful, brother in Christ, empowered by God for servanthood in His kingdom.

3. Christ Changes the Future.

Indications are that Onesimus engages in a life of faithful ministry from this time forward. Paul calls him a faithful, dearly loved brother. These words speak of Onesimus’ shift from disloyal, runaway, undependable to the loyal, steadfast, dependable, faithful servant. The trajectory of Onesimus’ life was changed through the gospel of Jesus Christ, Paul’s investment in his life, and Philemon’s forgiveness and acceptance.

A few questions to ask in thinking about Onesimus’ story:

  • Am I Onesimus – Have I dealt honestly with my past? Are there people that I need to forgive? Are there relationships that I need to reconcile? Have I faced my past, even at a risk? Avoiding forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemptive risk means we may jeopardize or limit the full impact we can have as a servant of Christ.
  • Am I Paul – Can I help two brothers reconcile a relationship? Paul went to bat for Onesimus. Paul believed in Onesimus. Paul took a risk to vouch for Onesimus, probably before he had proven himself. Who can I vouch for, believing in the power of God living inside of them, not in their ability to follow through? Paul’s actions tell us he believed in the power of the gospel.
  • Am I Philemon – Is there someone that I need to forgive and release from guilt or shame? Philemon held Onesimus’ life in his hands and evidently choose forgiveness. Could your effort to reconcile release someone today into a life of ministry?
  • Who am I counting as useless? Who am I judging only by their past and not by their future potential in Christ? The Gospel can move people from useless to useful. Do I believe that? If so, there are no lost causes. Today’s fugitives can become tomorrow’s disciple-makers.

Shout Outs: Tychicus

In Colossians 4:7-18, the Apostle Paul closes his letter to the church at Colossae, with ten “Shout Outs” to friends who were with him on mission across Asia Minor. A Shout Out is simply a public acknowledgement of good. Paul closed most of his letters with a list of shout outs. These were one or two sentence acknowledgements of their contribution to his ministry and life.

These shout outs from Paul remind us that he was not alone. And neither should we try to be as we live life and participate in God’s mission. Christianity is about relationships. Church is simply a group of friends that are pursuing God’s mission together. Jesus had the twelve. Paul had around 35 that he mentions across all of his letters. The model is Friendship + Mission. There is no such thing as solo Christianity.

Paul’s first Shout Out went to a young man named Tychicus. Who was Tychicus? Here’s what we know from the four, possibly five, mentions he receives in the New Testament.

  • He was from Asia, possibly Ephesus (see Acts 20:4).
  • He traveled with Paul and served as Paul’s mailman, delivering Paul’s letters to the churches. 
  • He’s mentioned in Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21-22; Colossians 4:7-8; 2 Timothy 4:12. Also, possibly 2 Corinthians 8:22, where an unnamed person fits the other descriptions Paul gives of Tychicus.

If we could describe Tychicus in a sentence we could say – Tychicus was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, who delivered good news to the churches, and encouraged the hearts of believers everywhere he went.

These three statements about Tychicus describe the kinds of people we need in the church today.

1. He Was a Faithful Servant.

This speaks to his character and dependability. In 2 Corinthians 8:22 (if that’s referring to Tychicus), Paul says, we tested him and found him faithful. Paul depended on Tychicus to deliver his letters. He also sent him to take care of churches so that the established leaders could come to Ephesus to be encouraged and trained. Tychicus could be depended on.

Today, many people seem to value autonomy more that dependability. We want the freedom to show up when we can and pick and choose opportunities to serve that fit our schedule. Dependability and faithfulness require a depth of friendship and commitment that requires maximum unselfishness. That’s why its called servanthood.

Are you considered a Faithful Servant to your church and community?

2. He Delivered Good News.

Paul said, “Tychicus will tell you” (Colossians 4:7). Count on Tychicus for the truth, the good news, the good words. Tychicus carried the letters from Paul, and since illiteracy was so high in the first century (potentially 80-90%), he was probably the first to read the letter to the believers as well. So, the first time people heard the word of God from Paul, it was likely from Tychicus’ mouth.

In a day and time of difficulty and struggle, a good word was and is life to the soul of the church. What good words have you brought to people lately? We like to talk about the latest on our doom scrolls and the gossip around town. What if we focused on good words, truth, and words that build up. That’s what Tychicus was known for. (See also Proverbs 12:25; 15:23; 16:24).

And when was the last time someone heard the word of God from you mouth? We need modern day Tychicus’ who will know the word of God and speak it into everyday conversations, who will open their homes for Bible Study and have Gospel Conversations with people as a way of life.

Can you be counted on to bring the good news to your community?

3. He Encouraged the Hearts of Believers

Tychicus was a trusted encourager. En-courage can simply be defined as adding courage to someone. Through your words, example, attitude you can add or take away courage from others. Paul noted Tychicus’ ability to add courage to the churches.

Hebrews 12:24-25 tells us that one of the main reasons for church is encouragement – “And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but ENCOURAGING EACH OTHER, and all the more as you see the day approaching.”

Does your words, lifestyle, attitude add or take away courage from other believers? Dan Cathy said, “Do you know how you can tell if someone needs encouragement? They’re breathing.” Everyone you meet today and everyday is in need of encouragement. Think about your life and words and consider how you may add courage to others today.

Let’s be like Tychicus this week. Faithful servants, bringing good news, and encouraging hearts for the sake of the Gospel.

Shout Outs

In Colossians 4:7-18, the Apostle Paul closes his letter to the church at Colossae, with ten “Shout Outs” to friends who were with him on mission across Asia Minor. A Shout Out is simply a public acknowledgement of good. Paul closed most of his letters with a list of shout outs. These were one or two sentence acknowledgements of their contribution to his ministry and life.

These shout outs from Paul remind us that he was not alone. And neither should we try to be as we live life and participate in God’s mission. Christianity is about relationships. Church is simply a group of friends that are pursuing God’s mission together. Jesus had the twelve. Paul had around 35 that he mentions across all of his letters. The model is Friendship + Mission. There is no such thing as solo Christianity.

Paul’s Shout Outs also beg the questions:

1. Who Deserves a Shout Out from Me?

Who do I need to acknowledge for my growth in godliness, effectiveness on His mission, and partnership in the gospel? To not say thank you and recognize the good others have blessed you with and added to your ministry and life is to live in arrogance. No one is self-made. We all stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. We all benefit from the generosity and encouragement of those around us.

  • Make a list of ten who have helped you in ministry and life. Consider dropping them a line to say thank you today.

2. Who Would Give a Shout Out to Me?

Am I living my life in such a way to be a benefit to the life and ministry of others? What would people at my church, workplace, or neighborhood say about me if my investment in and impact on their lives were boiled down to one or two sentences? Am I an encouragement to those like Paul, who are risking their lives for the gospel?

  • Make a list of ten people who you can encourage and partner with on God’s mission. Invite some friends to join you on a particular mission in the world.

The story of New Testament Christianity, beginning with Jesus, continuing through Paul is Friendship + Mission = Eternal Impact.

Our church recently did a series on these ten friends. Find the audio here.

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