Where is Your Faith in God?

IMG_1441

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1-6)

It’s something we talk about, sing about, pray about and encourage others to have because without it, it is impossible to please God. Faith without works is dead. It should be alive. Nothing fruitful can be done with something dead.

Mustard Seed Faith

But what about when challenges arise? How much faith do you need to get through it? The Bible says you only need faith the size of a mustard seed. That’s the faith that is needed to move mountains. Imagine being able to mountains with mustard seed faith. Health mountains,  family mountains, relationship mountains, finance mountains and employment mountains, move aside. But even mustard seed faith can seem feel like a challenge when you are faced with hard facts.

Where is your Faith?

This was the title of a gospel song sung by the late Rev. James Cleveland. That was a question that was meant for those in their darkest hour, seeking answers. Are you always ready to practice what you preach? Trials can arise at any time and they are never welcomed or convenient. When the storms of life roll in it’s easy to lose sight of our peace.  God will purposely allow storms in our life at times to get our attention  and turn our eyes towards HIm.

If you find yourself in a place where your faith is being challenged. Turn to God and ask what it is should be doing or learning from your experience. Perhaps He is seeking to break your dependence upon people or material things and help you to recognize that He is still the source and supplier of all your needs and no good thing will He ever withhold from you. (Psalm 84:11)

Faith Shaming

When we are in the midst of a crisis whether perceived or real, we often tend to turn to loved ones or friends for advice. Although they may be well-meaning, they may not have the answers you seek.

I have personally witnessed as well as been on the receiving end of “fellow Christians” who had expressed disappointment with those who are wavering. To say that someone is not believing hard enough or praying long enough to change their circumstances is simply not true. For this reason, many Christians choose to suffer in silence.

God will determine how long an individual’s season of difficulty shall last. Faith will be the result of duration during your trials. Despite how others’s may react to your disappointment during a trial rest assured your response whether adverse or correct will not come as a surprise to God nor will it somehow block you from your blessings.

Broken by Design

The truth is, when God is in the process of breaking someone their response does not automatically mean they are questioning God’s ability to deliver on His promises, they are simply reacting to their circumstances the same way that Jesus demonstrated His own humanity on the Cross during the time of the Crucifixion when he cried out to his Father “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

God understands our despair, our fears and our doubts and doesn’t take it personally. He’s a loving Father who’s ways and understanding surpasses our own, yet He is patient with our growing process.

Remember Moses? He pleaded with the Lord when he was instructed to lead the people of Israel and had a list of excuses as to why he should not have been the one chosen. Moses faced several other challenges along the journey and faith was not always his strong suit, but look what the Lord did with him and through him.

Everyone’s Faith is Tested

Don’t be fooled. Whether you are a Pastor, Minister, Bishop, Deacon or Deaconess, choir member or simply sit on a pew. Your faith will be tested and you will have to put your faith to work in the face of the tragedies, disappointments and devastations of this life. We all come to different levels of faith at different stages throughout our lives. As our relationship grows so does our faith. Always remember that God will never give us more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Encourage Yourself

When life’s trappings become a distraction either in the form of people or material things, God will sometimes intentionally move them out of way to disrupt our thoughts of being self-reliant. When this happens think back on those times in the past when you were either in dire need or when things seemed impossible and God blessed you with the provisions you needed or changed the course of events in an unexpected way. Use those times to comfort you during your current circumstances. Write them down and revisit the list as often as needed.

Don’t concentrate on the crisis or the pain. Pray and ask God to reveal to you exactly what it is you should be learning from the difficulties you are facing either about yourself or others around you. No hardship is ever a wasted moment in your life. Maybe you are about to demonstrate strength you never thought you possessed.

Sometimes we imagine situations to be way worse than they are. God also sometimes sends people to assist or bring a message that will speak specifically to your situation but the message will be unmistakably from God. This is not a coincidence.

As the saying goes, God works in mysterious ways.

 

Advertisements

Why Are Church Memberships Declining?

IMG_1287

When I was a child, there was a nursery rhyme that went “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the door and see the people”

But where are the people now? Church memberships have been declining steadily across the board amongst almost all denominations with the exception of the Evangelicals.

In God We Trust?

Considering we were once a nation for whom “In God We Trust”, the stark reality is that many people are opting not only out of church life but out of religion entirely. So where is the disconnect?

What’s Happening Within the Church?

With the rise of reported abuses, scandals and wrongdoings within the church community, coupled with the societal demands for church traditions to keep up with a modern world, the sanctity of churches somehow are becoming obsolete.

Also, societal views of church members overall have waned.  Religious beliefs have been further confined to being practiced in churches or at home. Doing so in a public setting such as in an office or a school is now oftentimes frowned upon as being “politically incorrect” or an infringement upon the rights of others.

But what is correct about a world that is turning away from God?

Louis Posthauer, the Executive Director of Hunters of the Harvest Ministry, “Helping Christians Return to the Body of Christ” has been deeply involved in various aspects of ministry since 1979 when he turned his life over to Christ.  Over the last 36+ years he has been actively involved in teaching and leading a broad range of ministries in the local church.

IMG_1290

CFU:  When did you first realize that there was a crisis in the local churches concerning declining membership?
In 1989 through 1991, I was a full-time volunteer Pastor in the local church and got involved in outreach and visitor follow up. During that time I noticed many casual attenders and friends of theirs who basically were disconnected from the church. As a result, the Lord showed me a Biblical strategy that was very effective in restoring dropouts to the local church. I continued to utilize that after I went back into industry for 25 years and saw many friends and neighbors and work associates restored to church.
However, it wasn’t until 2016 when the Lord impressed me to raise up this ministry and impart it to local churches to train their congregations that I realized how bad this problem of dropout believers has progressed in the western church! The Barna group in 2016 conducted a study that shows for every 10 adult Americans over the age of 21, only 3 out of 7 who consider themselves Christians are actively engaged with the local church. That means that 4 out of 7 of all of those who profess Christian faith are dropout believers. This is stunning. 55% (4/7) of all professing Christians in America today are drop out believers! I’ll bet you know some.
Some of your family members, some are your neighbors, some are your work associates and some are your friends. If you are an actively engaged Christian you’ve already found that simply inviting them or trying to get them back into church generally just doesn’t work. That’s why God’s biblical strategy is so key and important to restoring dropout believers.
CFU: What do you think has contributed to these diminishing numbers?
Some consider that the secular culture is a factor, others consider the level of engagement or lack therof of the church in society, others suggest the relevance of the church today. And there are other factors. All these issues, however, are merely manifestations of the latter days Church age we are living in, in which most people’s love is growing cold (Matt 24:12).
As a result, dropout believers have bought into a variety of lies that justify their disassociating themselves from the church  – the body of Christ, none of which are the will of God. These are strongholds – false, deeply deceptive belief systems in the mind, that must be torn down spiritually in order for them to know the truth.
CFU: What is the goal of Hunters of the Harvest Ministry in rebuilding the Kingdom?
The vision of Hunter’s of the Harvest Ministry is to see millions of dropout believers across the church in the Western World restored to the church – the body of Christ. Our mission is to impart the biblical strategy of hunters of the harvest to churches and their congregations to enable them to effectively reach out to their own sphere of influence: their family members, friends, neighbors, and work associates; and see God work miraculously to restore them to the local church.
Just think – if every active christian engaged and helped restore one – just one dropout, the church would double in size! Think Easter/Christmas level attendance all the time! Think of Holy Spirit revitalized on fire churches – because when dropouts are restored they come in on fire and ready to give and to engage!
CFU: What do you recommend as an action plan for rebuilding the Kingdom?
LP: Churches in the West still try to do evangelism as if most of the society around them is not saved or are unbelievers. That is not the case in America and some other Western countries. In fact the Barna statistics say in America only 30% of adults profess no commitment to Christian faith. Yes, this 30% will respond to traditional evangelistic outreach that proclaims the gospel of good news.
However,  those 4 out of 7 believers who are dropouts have already “been there, done that”.  They won’t be inclined to be responsive to such traditional outreaches(“I know that – I already believe in Jesus…”). Dropout believers already believe in Jesus. They just don’t believe the church is real – a vital part of their professed belief in Jesus. Their false belief systems – strongholds – must be brought down spiritually (2 Co 10:5) and overcome by the love of God manifested through prayer in individual believers who are committed to them. This is the power of the biblical strategy of Hunters of the Harvest.
I encourage every active Christian and especially leaders who are concerned about this issue to carefully review our website HuntersoftheHarvest.Org  This is the biblical answer for the restoration of dropout believers.
Christians, Pastors – it is time to act. The hour is late. Maranatha!

Turn Your Hobby into a Profitable Career

IMG_1254

What Are You Passionate About?

What is the thing you do with well with no real effort? What do you do as a hobby that fills you with joy every time without fail? Do family and friends tell you how much they enjoy your cooking?  Maybe you love baking in your spare time or you a flair for fashion and can sew. Perhaps you are a natural organizer and are able to coordinate details or events and can put things in order fairly easily. Or maybe you have a special bond with children or elders, that allows you to connect with them as a caregiver. These are just a few examples of passions many people turn into businesses. The possibilities are endless

Minding Your Own Business

The thought of becoming an entrepreneur isn’t something that everyone aspires to be. But don’t let the challenges of managing yourself as your own employee become an obstacle to your success. There will always be excuses available to justify not following your dreams and the reality is that none of those reasons are ever bigger than the God we serve. (Philippians 4:13)

Time Waits for No Man or Woman

When it comes to time, for some people there will never be enough of it. Day-to-day responsibilities can feel overwhelming. The thought of being able to do something on the side may feel nearly impossible. Most people find that between working a full-time job or attending school or parenting there’s usually little time for much else. The truth is, everyone has the same amount of hours available to them each day.

Still, many people manage to achieve far more than others. Who are these overachievers? Are they smarter? More organized or dedicated than you? Or, have they just figured out how to use time to their advantage and work smarter.

The latter is probably true. Also, nearly everyone can find a way to gain additional time to jumpstart a dream project. Even you!

Reclaim Your Time

Here are a few tips to help you regain more time:

  • Limit the time you spend on social media, watching television and checking and responding to emails.
  • Manage your social life. If you are serious about investing in your dream, you’ll have to consider skipping a few outings once in a while. It won’t hurt you. In fact, it can save you both time and maybe money too.
  • Use your commute as to get work done. Depending on your routine,  you may be able to use your travel time to  research and write out your ideas.
  • Wake up a little earlier or retire a little later. Making the effort to get an extra hour or more in to get things done can make the difference in you achieving your goals.

Working 9-to-5

What is that you like or dislike about your current job? Do you have a level of independence or maybe this is something you are lacking. Are your earnings already at its peak or is there room for growth and opportunity? Now is the time to figure out what really makes you happy.

If you have a job already, you are in the is the best position to try out something new on the side. Many people have turned their hobbies into successful full-time careers.

Common reasons for starting a “side hustle”

  • Additional income opportunity
  • Independence. Doing it for yourself
  • Doing something you actually enjoy vs. doing what pays the bills

What’s Your Passion?

How do you determine your passion? Consider it the thing you would do and enjoy even if you did it for free. If God has placed a dream within you that continually tugs at your heart and mind, then chances are you have found your passion.

Say “NAY” to the Naysayers

There will always be detractors. Your vision may not be as clear to others as it is in your own mind. Do not fall into the trap of needing to run everything by everybody all the time. Seek out wise counsel and research the works of those who may have already done what you are striving to do. The internet is a rich source of information. Use it to your advantage.

Also, learn to say nay to your own naysaying as well. Perhaps you may feel you do not have all of the qualifications needed to handle the task or you don’t have the money to fund what’s needed or maybe you have decided to purse your dream later in life.

Each of these circumstance have at some point been faced by someone else who is successful today. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed then you already have all you need to get started on your pursuit. (Matthew 17:20).

Need ideas? Here’s is a list of “99 Side Hustle Business Ideas You Can Start Today” from SideHustleNation.com.