22 05 2014

sharing-Bible

BY STEVE DUNN

One of my PTI students from western Pennsylvania, Heidi Mikulin,posted this on her Facebook page today:

“Two young men walked by my front porch today. It was not the first time I had seen them, and I knew the mission they were on. After pleasantries, they asked if I was used to the weather here in PA. These two boys were from out of town, and they were not accustomed to the changes in weather. I asked them what God was inviting them to do today. They began talking about their mission, how they were missionaries away from home to spread news. I asked them to sit and chat with me for a while. The three of us read the Bible. I questioned them, and they asked me questions. As we talked, I shared my Good News. They couldn’t understand the difference in our beliefs, so I asked them to share their testimony. When they had finished sharing with me, I told them my testimony. I got to introduce them to my Jesus, and how He changed my life because He is who He says He is, and He did what He said He did. I prayed with them before they left. Funny, I had expected to have a Bible study on my front porch today, but I could have never guessed who it would be with.”

1982045_4083129091984_313659436_nHeidi is practicing one of the  most important aspects  of The Bridgebuilders Principle by stepping into the zone of the unknown to build redemptive relationships.  And a key element of this starting spiritual conversations.  First of all we must be open to meeting the stranger, for he is also our neighbor,  We need to set aside fear.  We need to exercise courage to move beyond discussing the weather to start spiritual conversations.  And we will see what God will do.

I’d love to hear and share other stories like Heidi’s. Do you have one we could share?

Advertisements




GUERILLA LOVIN’ BREAKFAST

9 01 2014

 

 

This is an awesome example of the Bridgebuilders Principle (“building redemptive relationships with the community”).  I thank George for permitting us to reprint this from his newsletter.  George is the pastor of Turning Point Church in Mechanicsburg PA.  – Steve

by George Spangler’

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Jn 13: 34 – 35

 

Please Dont Do This

 

Recently, I became frustrated with the numerous stories of stingy Christians who made a point out of being overtly critical to the servers that waited on them.  Perhaps you saw the story of the Pastor who was offended that an 18% gratuity was added to his bill.  He crossed out the automated gratuity and wrote these words, “I give God 10% why do you get 18?”   On top of that I was frustrated with the stories and posts of how Christmas has become so commercialized.  I read an article about the number of people killed or seriously injured in Black Friday shopping related, crowd stampeding incidents.  My secular friends used these types of stories as rational to stay away from church altogether, and sometimes I can understand how they feel.

 

 

Turning Point Church

 

But these stories do not describe the Christ followers I know.  The people that I know who love Jesus are generous and loving and so I gave Turning Point Church a challenge.  I said, “These stories do not describe  the Christ followers I know, let’s get out there and intentionally love a server this Christmas season.  Let’s do our part to share the love of Jesus and be exceedingly generous in someones life.  I need nominations of hard work servers that are struggling to make ends meet.”

 

 We were led to a woman that we will call “Susan.”  Susan is a mother of four small children and is working hard to provide for them.  We called the restaurant she worked at and arranged with the owner to be seated in her section.  We told them what we were going to do and asked them to keep it a secret. She had no idea why we were there or why we requested her. We didn’t know her and she didn’t know us, but we were about to have a lot of fun getting to know each other.

 

 I  invited people to our “Guerilla Lover” breakfast.  That’s right!  Guerilla Love (jumping out from behind a tree, kind of guerilla, and showering her with love and kindness in the name of Jesus. )  I loved to lend you my Guerilla Lover book, just email me.

 

 I had two expectations of the participants:  1.) Come and eat breakfast with us at this diner on a Thursday morning, order whatever you want and 2.) leave at least a $20 tip.

 

 I found 11 people from Turning Point who were able to make the Thursday breakfast and who were willing to leave a generous tip. I was also blessed to reach out to one of our ministeriums which brought about the attendance of some awesome COG pastors like:  Dan Masshardt, Zack Wilt, Stefanie DiFrancesco, Charlie Zahora, and Dave Williams. Tracy Connor, who is planting VisionPointe Church in York, was also able to attend.

 

Participants at the Guerilla Love Breakfast

 

 After enjoying a breakfast together and spending time getting to know our server, we presented her with a Christmas Card signed by all of us and containing our tips.  I explained,  “We got together to celebrate Christmas and the joy that Jesus brings us.  That’s why we are eating together today. God has been so good to us and we want to celebrate it together and share it with you.  So we got you a Christmas Card too.”  She looked at me a little confused and said, “Thank you.” When she opened the card, she noticed it contained a wad, and I mean a wad of dough.  She was taken back and overcome with tears.  In the name of Jesus, we were able to bless this wonderful hardworking mom with a tip of $440. At the same time, we gave witness to the wonderful generosity of our awesome savior, who entered the world to give his life as a ransom for ours.

 

 I couldn’t think of more enjoyable way to spend that $20 than to eat with people I care about, celebrating the love of our amazing God, and giving generously to a stranger who God prepared in advance for us to meet.

 

 Here is what some of the others are saying:

 

  “It was fun.  Sure we all have our ups and downs but overall as we express Christ’s love and action to the world around us should’nt it be a blast?   I will never forget the expression on Susan’s face as she experienced that love for real.” -Tracy Connor

 

 

“It was fun to be there, but mostly it was fun to make an impact on one life that day.”

 

– Dan Masshardt

 

 “The following Sunday I told the story of our experience and I shared the story of the starfish.  With so many “starfish on the beach”  what difference did we really make?   We made a difference in Susan’s life.  It mattered to her.” – Stef Difrancesco

 

 

“There aren’t very many days and experiences that a person will never forget. This was one of them. Our server will always remember this and so will the 17 of us that participated. I shared this story with our church on Christmas Eve, as an example of what God’s church should look like in the world. If I leave a $20 tip, that’s not a big deal. But when a whole group of us each leaves a $20 tip, that is a big deal. Thanks for the opportunity!”

 

– Charlie Zahora

 

 

“It was probably the best part of Christmas break. Just for us as a group of pastors to be meeting the same time as your act of love so we could join in–that was a divine plan. Living out my faith in practical ways has always been my style so joining with you was a blessing. Thanks for inviting us. Also as a conference guy I typically hang around with pretty committed believers so I am always looking for opportunities to meet with people not yet a part of the faith community. So thanks for the opportunity to share God’s love in a very practical way.”– Dave Williams

 

 “It was the best part of my Christmas week. the opportunity to see Christ’s love in action was a real blessing.”

 

– Zack Wilt

 

 

I am looking forward to next year’s Christmas Guerilla Love Breakfast, perhaps it will become a movement with multiple locations and multiple blessings.  Who knows?  Maybe we will eat together and perhaps be an answer to someone’s prayer for God to miraculously provide.

 

 Share the Joy,

 

 George Spangler





INCARNATIONAL

9 11 2013

This is the first in a series of articles sharing core aspects of the Bridgebuilders Principle which provides the foundation for both the Seminars and Bridgbuilders Ministries.  A book by this name is being prepared for publication in early 2014.

555146_359746747474257_516475757_n

BY STEVE DUNN

When churches think of reaching their unchurched neighbors, they often think of creating programs to attract people into their church buildings. Create the right program, make it attractive enough, and people will come into the church and find Jesus. Tony Campolo says. “The church puts up a sign, ‘Come one, come all.’ Jesus put up another sign. He said, ‘Go ye!” This is called the attractional model and it is meeting with decreasing success, especially in suburban and urban areas of the United States

The church needs to get out into the community where the unchurched live. It needs to build redemptive relationships with the unchurched. Those redemptive relationships build upon redemptive opportunities. Through those relationships people are led to Christ and brought into the church.

A redemptive relationship is a significant commitment by a Christian to a non-Christian where they share life together on many levels with a large amount of time spent together. Its purpose is for the Christian to speak into the life of the other as you

The church in the 21st century has come to realize that incarnation must be the model. For the authority of this claim, we only need to turn to the example of Jesus himself. “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14, The Message) The church outside its walls in action, the gospel lived out in the transformed lives of Christians who are living out in the world and building redemptive relationships with people who may be a long way from considering “coming to church.” Noting that Jesus Christ is the bridge from sinful humanity to a holy God, Dan Kimball says, “The church must be the bridge to the Bridge.” A bridge must be anchored on both sides of the distance to be bridged in order to actually help people “cross over.” (Robert Lewis)

Kevin Harney adds, “People need to hear about Jesus, but they also need to see him. As his ambassadors on earth, we are to reflect his love, show his heart, and incarnate his presence wherever God sends us.”

It is vital for us to understand that as the representatives of Jesus Christ out in the world, we must be the “real deal.” We must genuinely be persons transformed by God and following Christ. This is why two things must be true of us as the people of God, the Church. We must be people whose lives are rooted and grounded in the Grace of God ourselves. We are not good people doing a good thing for God. We are forgiven sinners, whose lives have been made new, by the unconditional love of God. In a world where “performance” is king and “measure up” is the command, a fallen and broken humanity hungers for “a taste of heavenly grace.”

(C) 2013 by Stephen L Dunn

excerpted from THE BRIDGEBUILDER PRINCIPLE (c) 2013 by Stephen L Dunn