Springtime Shades of Green

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Is No News Good News?

Stephen Nielsen

It kind of feels like nothing’s happening in the world. Every day is a blah news day. But is it really? Well, there’s nothing much to read in the newspapers, except your everyday burglaries, etc. No big headlines. And nothing much is on TV, except the news by the ever-observant reporter of the almost daily killing of a black man by the white police. Oh, that’s big news! The biggest news of our day.

But there is nothing quite as big as it used to be—about what Trump has done! All the news about Biden is fairly good and what is expected of a president—so the news says.

The answer to these blah days is that there really is big news, but the media is not reporting it. They are fairly silent. And if they do report something that is legitimately bad news (evil activity) they will…

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Worry: Its Causes and Cure

Stephen Nielsen

The verse we will consider today is Matthew 6:34.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

This verse is a concluding verse on the subject of worry, which Jesus has been preaching on from the preceding 14 verses (vv. 19-33); hence, He uses the word “therefore” to begin the verse. The verse also extends the teaching. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, whom I have been following, says this: “[Jesus adds] an extension of His teaching…In adding this [verse] He carried the teaching [about worry] one step further.”

Here we see that Jesus personalizes worry. In effect, worry seems to have its own power. I would say that worry teams up with the demonic; the demons mean to use worry to overpower us and defeat us. Almost all of us are familiar with what worry does to us…

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The Small Group Prayer Ministry

A small group prayer ministry may not appear to be that productive, but with the right leadership it may be very effective.  Here are a few ideas on how to design this ministry.

1.  I think a small group ministry will operate best with two or three leaders.  These are the people that have the vision for this ministry.  Though everyone in the group will have responsibilities, the leaders will do most of the planning and organizing.  They should meet regularly, at least monthly to evaluate the groups progress, to plan events and strategies, and to pray together.

2. As to its location, I suggest that the group always meet in the same place so its members always know where to go.  Since this will be a serious prayer group it must be a place without distractions. 

3. Though many from the group will probably attend the same church, I suggest that the group invite people from other churches.  That way there will be a much greater influence in the community, and I think there will be a better chance of duplicating the group elsewhere.

4.  Its members, especially its leaders, will determine the purpose of the group.  However, I think there should be at least the following four purposes:

  • To learn about prayer.  A small group provides a great opportunity to learn all about prayer.  The leaders don’t necessarily have to be great teachers or know everything about prayer.  The members will learn mainly from reading books together and doing bible studies together on prayer.
  • For praying together.  When you meet together I think at least a third of your time should be devoted to praying together.  If you meet for two hours, the first forty minutes could be used for fellowship and announcements, the second forty minutes could be used for bible study, and the last forty minutes would be devoted to prayer. 
  • For spiritual growth.  If you don’t grow spiritually as a result of meeting together then it isn’t worth the effort.  Your meeting together must be a time of spiritual growth.
  • For fellowship.  God desires that Christians encourage each other and share things in common with each other.  There is a great opportunity to do this in a small group.   

5.  When the group prays together there must be a prayer focus or plan.  I think it is up to the leaders to give the group some direction on this, but I think that ultimately the entire group should have a part in it. I think that the group should not just pray for themselves and for their friends, but should pray outside their circle of friends.  An idea I have is that each group member should share what he or she is most burdened about, whether it is for a certain missionary group, for a certain group of people, or for a particular problem in the world.  That way the group will get a sense of how God is directing the group, and they will be able to make a more intelligent, God directed prayer plan.

6.  Have a plan to duplicate your group. From the start you must decide that you want your group to multiply itself.  Then, as your group becomes too big, choose members from your group to start and lead another group, possibly based in another church and in another area.  You will have the joy of watching that group grow and develop just like yours!

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Sparkling Spring Water

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Living Like a Christian In a Non-Christian World

Stephen Nielsen

I have been writing on the subject of worry. We are still on that subject, from Matthew 6; this time our emphasis is on not living like a Gentile (a non-Christian), but rather like a Christian. In Matthew 6:31 through 33 Jesus said,

“Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ 32 “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

We Are Not to Live Like the Non-Christian

In verse 32 Jesus mentions that the Gentiles (non-Christians) are always seeking food, drink, and clothing, and yet they always seem to be worried over it. It is because they have a wrong view of life, a view that…

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The Prayer Ministry of the Local Church

Since people everywhere need prayer, we need prayer ministries everywhere. The design of your prayer ministry will be determined by two things: (1) by what the needs are, according to the location and type of ministry, and also (2) by whom your leaders are, according to their gifts and how God is calling and directing them.  In this blog post we will address the prayer ministry of the local church.

There is no right or wrong way to design any prayer ministry.  There are so many things that can be done.  Here are some of my own ideas for a local church prayer ministry—from my own experience and from what I have read and observed.

1. I think the senior pastor should lead the prayer ministry, or at least be a co-leader with another elder.  He is the main leader of the church so it fits best if he leads the prayer ministry.  He must lead of course by his own example.  Therefore, he must immerse himself in prayer and give priority to prayer.

Prayer should not only be a priority in his personal life, the topic of prayer should be a priority in all of his preaching.  It should be his goal that every Christian church member knows how to pray and be encouraged to pray.

He should also teach prayer and the priority of prayer to his ministry staff, elders, and to all the leaders of the church.  He should see to it that those he teaches are in turn teaching others.               

Last, I think it is primarily the pastor’s job to call the church together to pray and fast for particular needs.  This was the practice of the Old Testament leaders, such as king Jehosephat, Ezra, and Esther (2 Chron. 20:3, Ezra 8:21-23, Est. 4:16), and it should be the practice of our church leaders today.

2. There should be times of prayer and fasting for special needs.  When there is a particular church need, or when there is any kind of a need (whether it is local, national, or global) that the church senses they should pray about, the pastor should call the church together for a period of fasting and prayer.  Our church usually does this for a period of 40 days.  The way we have done it is to give everyone a chance to sign up for a prayer slot until all the time slots are filled for every minute of the day for 40 days.  We also have provided for each person some items to pray for, for each day of the week.  For example, on Monday we would pray for vision, on Tuesday for wisdom, on Wednesday for faith, and so on.  There are so many different things that can be done.  The idea is to get the whole church praying together at the same time for the same things. 

3. Prayer should be encouraged in all the Sunday school classes, and in all the support groups and ministry groups.  Even though the particular group is not designed as a prayer group it should nevertheless take advantage of the meeting time to pray together for at least five or ten minutes.  Prayer will always unify and strengthen a group; and it will give its members God’s direction and help.

4.  Special prayer groups should be encouraged.  A growing church should have prayer groups popping up everywhere.  I suggest that groups have a special focus or purpose.  One group may want to focus on praying for missionaries, another may want to pray for world needs, and another may focus on praying for all the needs of the church.  Some prayer groups may feel the need to pray just for their own needs, to encourage and support each other.

5. Prayer chains and emails can be used for urgent prayer requests.  If there is an urgent need, prayer must be made immediately.  The prayer chain by telephone I think is the best tool for urgent needs; for if callers are faithful to call and pray, everyone can be notified for an urgent need in minutes.  If the need is not so urgent emails are really the way to go (but those who don’t have a computer would have to be called).

6. Prayer retreats are definitely needed these days.  Everyone needs a retreat at least once a year.  If your church is small one retreat for the whole church will probably suffice.  A larger church, however, may want to have two or three retreats, or however many will fit the needs of the church.  Even if your retreat doesn’t focus on prayer, it can and should be a special time for you to get away with God and build your relationship with Him.

7. How about a prayer conference?  Churches don’t usually have conferences, but I think it would be very beneficial.  Members should be encouraged to attend, but you can also advertise and invite outsiders to come.  A prayer conference would be particularly helpful for those who are more serious about prayer, but I think it may also help to motivate someone who is not so committed.  I remember my first conference.  Just to see so many fired up Christians together and to hear those motivating speakers was a real encouragement to me.  A prayer conference can definitely help to jump-start one who is discouraged in his faith. 

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Seeing the Fall of Man through Ducks

Stephen Nielsen

She takes the lead and listens to the wrong voice. Big mistake.

Genesis 3:2-5

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”

4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

She breaks away. He watches and follows her lead.

Genesis 3:6-7

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with…

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Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 21:33-46

Stephen Nielsen

Our purpose as the church is to bear fruit.

This is our twelfth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we will focus on the meaning of the parable of the landowner.

Matthew 21:33-46

33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

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How The Evil Powers are working to Control America

Stephen Nielsen

First, I will define what I mean byThe Evil Powers. Chiefly, it is Satan, the devil. Under him it is all the demons—the evil fallen angels. Then under them it is the evil people that follow and are controlled by Satan. They call themselves the “elite.”  Most of them are billionaires. And they are always pushing for more money and more power. They are that group that is calling for the “Great Reset,” which will ultimately develop into world control by one leader.

Also, the reason why my title is on “America” instead of the world is because America is now the focus. And that is because they (the evil powers) reason that in order to control the world they will have to reduce the power of all nations; and that means that America will have to be knocked down a few notches—reduced in…

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