Outrigger 2013 is right around the corner. I hope you will take time to look around and see who plans to join us for this awesome, intimate time of round-table discussion and learning. This Friday and Saturday experience is limited to twelve (12) people, so we can create an environment for great discussions to move our ministries and nonprofit organizations forward. I hope you will plan to join us for this focused time of strategic planning and discussion. Browse the site and drop us an email at heartsharegroup@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Link to the full website for the conference by clicking here. 

Bridge Media Group, LLC is pleased to one of the sponsors for Outrigger 2013. We look forward to seeing you there!

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“Tired out!” … “Worn out!” … “Burned out!” … These are a few the comments I hear from pastors and ministry leaders on a regular basis. I bet you’re no different. There are times that you hit the wall and experience burn out as well, don’t you?!

As thought leaders, vision-casters, and culture transformers, we need to make sure we’re creating margin, blank space, for ourselves (and others and most importantly God). The expectations placed on us, and sometimes even the self-imposed expectations, are unrelenting at times.

Ever wish you could take a day off and do something you would not normally do? My idea of what that looks like is hiking to a mountaintop with a thermos of hot coffee, my Bible, a pen, and a notebook. Consider the value of uninterrupted time with the God of the universe and the opportunity to have a brainstorming session with Him one-on-one. Uninterrupted because of one caveat — my cell phone would be turned OFF. (I know that’s going to be hard for some of us.) That’s my idea. What’s yours?

We need to create practical, tangible opportunities for margin, so that we can have time to reflect, dream, rest, connect, etc.

How are you going to add margin to your life? More importantly, when are you going to add margin to your life? By the way, I am challenging myself with these same questions.

Here’s to more peace, contentment, creativity…and margin!

____________________________________________________________
Isaac Fineman is the Managing Member of Bridge Media Group, LLC, a Christ-centered marketing, communications, and public relations firm based in Greenville, SC. His niche and passion is working with Christian nonprofit organizations that desire to effectively and efficiently deliver their message for the glory of God. To contact Isaac Fineman by email click here.

Psalm 14:1

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.

Most of my friends and family know that I LOVE Chinese food, especially if it’s at a Chinese buffet. Recently, this was the message that I found inside my fortune cookie: “Time is precious, but truth is more precious than time!”

In this world of moral relativism, where some would say there is no such thing as “absolute truth,” the Bible teaches us that it is our responsibility as Christians to be about our Father’s business spreading the truth – the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

I know sometimes I get caught up in the “things” of life, that I forget to take time to share Jesus with others. But, I have to remind myself that it’s as easy as telling others what the Lord has done in my life and the future that I have to look forward to. If I’m obedient when the Holy Spirit prompts me to share Christ with others, it’s that little matchstick of hope that can be what is used to ignite a bonfire of hope for someone else.

I am reminded of 1 Peter 3:15. It says, “but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…”

Funny how even a “fortune cookie” message can be used by the Lord to challenge someone. I hope it will encourage you, as it has me, to make every moment count.

by Isaac Fineman
written Tuesday, July 25, 2006 from my Blog entitled “Declaring His Glory”

According to a recent editorial in The Greenville News (www.GreenvilleOnline.com) titled “God Created Evil As Well As The Good,” the author responds to an editorial from the previous week where the statement was made that one should “not just read parts of the Bible, but read it all.” It was clearly evident from the outset that the author of the second editorial was certainly not coming from an evangelical, biblical, Christ-honoring perspective. How sad.

Some of the references, taken completely out of context were:

“God saw everything He made and said it is good.” (Genesis 18:22)

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)

“Behold, I will bring evil upon thee…” (1 Kings 21:21)

Another out of context reference was made to Noah and the flood.

The closing statement of the editorial was, “Maybe God does hate evil, but he created it as something good. Strange isn’t it that an alleged perfect, sinless, god[sic] could create evil? Is creating evil, perfection?”

My heart breaks for the author. Unfortunately, he does not have a grasp on the sovereignty of God, nor does he seem to have a grasp on the word of God.

Let’s first deal with the issue of scripture out of context. You can take any scripture out of context, in order to support your position. For example, one could incorrectly use Acts 27:43, which says “But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land,” in some twisted way, to show biblical support for “forced suicide.” Any mature believer is going to be able to spot this argument as unbiblical.

More importantly, let’s tackle this issue of God “creating evil.” In fact, God did not “create” evil. He created man, and it was by man’s choice of disobedience against a holy, perfect God that evil and sin affected all of mankind. (See Genesis 2:16-17 and Romans 3:23) From what I’ve been able to read in the Bible, commentaries, and other sound resources, God did not just decide one day “out of the blue” to send a flood to the Earth for no reason. You can study the account of the flood in Genesis chapters 5-10.

God never does anything without purpose. In His providence, there were warnings about the upcoming calamity of the flood, which was a result of sin and the depravity of man, and then there were results of the flood: blessings for those who were God’s people and curses for those who were not God’s people. In fact, we see that principle still in effect today. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Plainly stated, if you sin (and you do if you have a pulse) and are not a child of God, then you will spend eternity apart from Him. But the flip side of that coin is, that if as a sinner, you recognize your need for Jesus Christ, the God-man, as your Savior and you call on Him by faith to cover your sins with His holy blood and to be your Lord and Master, the Bible teaches that you will be saved from the guilt and the power of sin and as a result will enjoy eternity with God forever. (See John 3 and Romans 5)

In closing, I challenge and encourage you to apply 1 Peter 3:15 to your life and “…in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;…”

Are you declaring His glory?

Connect with us online for more opportunities to discover the goodness of God and His sovereignty on display at http://communityimpactonline.org.

Blessings!

Isaac Fineman

Brothers and Sisters,

I had a wonderful day. Very busy, but very productive. I wanted to share with you a brief story about how our ministry is being used by God to reach others for Him. Last night, in God’s providence, I had the opportunity to meet a man in the Greenville area through a ministry named Food For Life. This man had a great understanding of the Scriptures, but it was evident their was still a lot that he wanted to learn and it was even more clear that God was at work, because he recognized his struggles and his need for the gospel on a daily basis. I am looking forward to spending more time with that ministry and hopefully will get to see that brother the next time I am there.

Please continue to pray for Community Impact. This ministry has so many opportunities to serve and connect and be a part of God’s work in putting “grace on display.” If you would like to learn more about ways that you can get plugged in to Community Impact, please visit http://communityimpactonline.org and click on Get Involved.

May God continue to poor out His rich blessings on your week.

Your friend and fellow worker for Christ,

Isaac Fineman

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:

1. Understand how your clients’ expectations rise and change over time.
What may have been good enough before no longer applies. Ask them and understand how to better serve them to help them with their business and needs.

2. Differentiate yourself from the competition.
Provide personalized and responsive service and go “beyond the call of duty.” Treat them in a way that they will appreciate and remember.

3. Raise the bar for yourself.
You’ve heard of “dazzling the client” — now find ways to do it. Be more flexible, faster and more efficient.

4. Never be content.
Find ways to stay ahead of the pack. I find every day there is so much to learn and new ways to implement. Make it your goal to learn and apply something new each day..

5.Manage expectations.
Build a firm foundation of trust and deliver what you promise. Then if something comes up, you will find the client more understanding and forgiving. A great line I heard once was to “under-promise and over-deliver.”

6. Take personal responsibility.
You want your name to be golden to them and make sure you live up to that standard. Make it easy for them to do business with you and let them “sleep at night.”

7. Bounce back with effective service recovery.
Things happen that are often out of our control. When it does, go into major “repair mode” and do whatever it takes to restore great customer goodwill.

8. Appreciate.
When your clients complain, they can be your best allies because they will tell you what you really need to know. Listen with your ears totally tuned up, then fix the problem. And thank them!

9. See the world from the customers’ point of view.
Take off any blinders and take the time to step into their shoes. Actually become a customer. See what the client sees and the way they might feel and then work to make it better then ever.

10. Service is the currency that keeps our economy moving.
Customer service is always in fashion!! Strive to improve each and every day.

Go through your client base today, and think of one thing you can do differently. Remember, your clients become your biggest advocates because they praise and brag about you, which builds your brand and leads to a stronger and bigger network.

Source: Marketing/networking consultant Andrea Nierenberg, head of The Nierenberg Group (www.selfmarketing.com, 2009)

by Mike Cleveland of Setting Captives Free Ministries                                         (online at http://settingcaptivesfree.com)

We are studying our “Emancipation Proclamation” in the book of Galatians, and have now come to this section:

11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? 15 “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:11-16

A Christian’s method of correcting another Christian is through speaking the truth in love, rebuking when needed, and calling for correction and change. What Paul said to Peter in the above passage contained all three of these elements and was designed to get Peter to wake up and repent, because Peter had begun to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles for fear of the Jews.

It now becomes clear that Peter has a besetting sin in his life. Do you remember another time when Peter drew back and separated himself in a sinful way, for fear of the Jews? It is recorded here:

53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire. Mark 14:53-54

Peter’s “following at a distance,” and his “warming himself at the fire” of the world led to his outright denial of Jesus Christ – three times. Jesus granted Peter repentance, and John records, in chapter 21, that Peter was restored to useful service. However, here in Galatians chapter 2 we see that, once again, Peter is separating himself and withdrawing from Gentile Christians. In essence, he is once again separating Himself from Christ, Who lives in His people. Peter is “not acting in line with the truth of the gospel” (verse 14), but rather is acting in deceit and hypocrisy.

This is called a “besetting sin” or a “sin that easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1), as Peter has become enmeshed twice in the same sin. The first time Jesus rebuked him and restored him; this time Paul does so.

Christians can and do have sins that easily entangle us. For me, it was gluttony and laziness, pornography and sexual impurity, drinking and lying. I lived like this, in bondage to these soul-destroying sins for 15 years of my life (some of them much longer than that), even while having a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Each of us have a sin, or sins, which easily entangle us, that we have real trouble overcoming, and that greatly discourage us when we fall.

And yet, the good news is that, in the life of the Christian, weaknesses are eventually turned into strengths (Hebrews 11:34) as God gives us grace and we experience the power of the Holy Spirit. This passage in Galatians (when Peter drew back and separated himself from other Christians) is the last time we see him acting hypocritically in all of Scripture. When we read the epistles he penned, we find a man who is strong in the Lord, walking in victory, whose weakness was turned into strength and whose faith is strong. Simon the “sinking sand” had indeed become Peter “the rock.” He may have his own past in mind as he tells others to “rid yourselves of all malice, and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind” (1 Peter 2:1—emphasis mine).

The good news is this: whatever your past or present weakness, whatever sins you struggle with that easily beset you, whatever sins are entangling you, you can have the victory over them in Jesus Christ. By repenting of your sin and focusing your attention squarely on Christ, by learning to love His gospel with your whole heart, you will find that you will escape the trap of sinful bondage and begin to walk in the glorious freedom of God’s sons.

Yes, it is focusing on the gospel that will indeed free you and change you. As you kneel and look up to the cross, what do you see? You see one who was wounded for your transgressions, who was bruised for your iniquities, and you recall the verse that says, “By His stripes you are healed.” As you see His blood-covered face and body, you realize that by shedding His blood He is making atonement for your sins, reconciling you to God, forgiving your debt, cleansing your conscience and removing your guilt. And then, are you mistaken? You think you see Him look your way as He says, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

And with tear-stained eyes and a heart of love and gratitude you stand, now in awe of this Lamb led to the slaughter for you. You now have a holy impulse of love beating in your heart and you feel the sanctifying power of grace within you. You have heard Him say, “Neither do I condemn you” and now you feel the power of the Holy Spirit Who will enable you to “go and sin no more” (John 8).

Peter failed Christ, played the part of the hypocrite over and over, and we can imagine that every time he heard a rooster crow he was reminded of his failure. Possibly you have reminders of your falls, too. Maybe when you see someone, or pass by a certain place, or hear a song on the radio you are reminded of how you failed Christ, fell to sin, and possibly hurt others that you love. Well, take heart, dear Christian. Not only did Peter have roosters in his life, but he also had fish. You can imagine every time he ate a fish he heard the words of grace, “If you love me, feed my sheep” and recalled the tender warmth with which Jesus restored him three times, once for each of his denials of Christ (John 21:17).

Paul absolutely loved the gospel of Jesus Christ. He felt compelled to rebuke Peter because Peter’s actions denied the power of the gospel. In his rebuke, Paul evidenced that he loved Peter, and that he did not want to share in his guilt:

Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt. Leviticus 19:17

Now you probably don’t know me personally, and I probably don’t know you. If you are not falling to sin habitually, you may disregard the rest of this letter. But, if you are trapped in sin, may I lovingly rebuke you, even through this newsletter? If you continue to fall to sin, out of love for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and your eternal soul, I say to you with compassion, “You are not acting in line with the truth of the gospel,” are abusing the grace that God has given you and, worse yet, you are mocking the cross on which Jesus died and the atonement He made for you. I do not at all wish to be harsh with you and, if we were sitting down over coffee, I think you would sense my love and concern for you. Please know that in my heart I only want the best for you. It would be “hate” in my heart to fail to speak the truth in love to you, to not rebuke you; and this I do not want to do.

So, my heart is to encourage you to repent, and to help you to gospel freedom. We have designed Bible studies to help you leave your sin and fall in love with your Savior. We invite you to come to Setting Captives Free.com if you would like help in finding freedom through gospel truth.

I would love to see a letter from you someday, possibly thinking of your own past, as you write to exhort others, as Peter did,11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11-12

“For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:25

Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland

Would you please consider helping us at Setting Captives Free to continue to reach more people with the liberating message of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Please pray for us when you think of it. And, if you are able to help us financially, we would be very grateful, especially if you could become one of our partners and contribute a small (or large) monthly donation. As able, please click here to donate. Thank you.

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

Babe Ruth
(1895–1948)

http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1560_a_good_start_on_prayer_in_2009/

December 28, 2008  |  By: John Piper
Category: Commentary

At Bethlehem Baptist Church this is the beginning of prayer week. This is our way of encouraging each other to pray more consistently, more earnestly, more hopefully, and more biblically in 2009.

The best way to strengthen our faith and our resolve is to read what God has promised to those who pray. Here is a sampling:

Promises of Answered Prayer to Encourage Us to Pray with Hope

Jeremiah 29:11-13

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart,

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Matthew 7:7-11

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Isaiah 64:4

From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.

Isaiah 65:24

Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.

Jeremiah 33:3

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

Lamentations 3:25

The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Psalm 145:18-19

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.

Psalm 10:17

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

Psalm 34:15-17

The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. . . 17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Matthew 18:19-20

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

James 4:8

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

John 16:24

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Psalm 37:4-5

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

Psalm 38:15

But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.

Psalm 102:17

He regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer.

John 14:13-14

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

John 15:7

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:16

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

Matthew 21:22

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Psalm 55:16-17

But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. 17 Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.

Psalm 56:9

Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.

Psalm 50:15

Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

Psalm 81:10

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

1 John 5:14-15

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Zechariah 13:9

And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”