Wednesday: Church Organization: The Structure for Unity
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Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

The New Testament reveals that the early church had a definite organizational structure.

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

This structure helped to preserve the doctrinal purity of the church and keep it focused on mission.

In Acts 6, a small group of disciples met together to solve the problem of the distribution of food to the widows of the Greek converts. They selected deacons to solve the dilemma. Church members respected the authority of these church leaders.

When the apostle Paul was converted [...]

Can’t We All Just Get Along?
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http://www.goodsalt.com/details/kibas0385.html?r=ssnet

In the interest of full disclosure, I hate conflict. I will go to great lengths and do almost anything to avoid it. But I know folks who appear to thrive on conflict. They are not afraid to say exactly what they mean, even if they’re pretty sure it’s going to upset someone.

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

When we talk about the early Christians we like to concentrate on the “all in one accord” parts of the story – they [...]

07: The Bond of Revival – Teaching Plan
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Key Thought : A praying congregation with a common message and mission will revive the power of the Holy Spirit. There is priority in church unity and good relationships between members.

[Teaching plan for The Bond of Revival August 12, 2013]

1. Have a volunteer read John 17:9-11.

a. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
b. What does it mean for Christ’s church, His people, to be one? In what ways [...]

Relationships: Life Changing or Time Wasting?
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Image © Sally Weimer from GoodSalt.com

In her post, Life-Changing or Time Wasting, Lillianne Lopez cites that only 31% of Americans believe the Bible is inspired. Why do you think that is? I received a clue while I enjoyed reading Lillianne’s post.

Image © Sally Weimer from GoodSalt.com

A lady friend of mine instant-messaged me, saying she was frustrated with the singles websites, because the men contacting her were only after one thing – sex. She was disappointed she could not find anyone interested in a genuine relationship. [...]

Tuesday: Elements of Unity: Our Mission and Message
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Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

The unity experienced by the New Testament believers was based on far more than emotional warmth between members.

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

Read Acts 1:8, 4:33, 5:42, 9:31, and 28:28-31. What was the all-consuming passion of the New Testament church? How did this passion unite them?

The disciples were consumed with something much larger than themselves. Christ’s commission to take the gospel to the entire world swallowed up their personal ambitions. The church cannot reach the community with the gospel until it is united, but [...]

Monday: New Testament Illustrations of Unity
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Image © Michael Agliolo from GoodSalt.com

The New Testament world of the first century was divided by caste, social status, and gender.

Image © Michael Agliolo from GoodSalt.com

It was a society in social turmoil. The concepts of equal rights, freedom, and human dignity were not the accepted norms.

Then Christianity burst upon the scene. It created a social revolution. Jesus’ teachings of equality, justice, concern for the poor, and respect for the marginalized appeared radical. At the same time, New Testament believers united around the core values [...]

Sunday: Answering Christ’s Prayer for Unity
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Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

John 17 contains Jesus’ great intercessory prayer. It reveals what was on His mind at that momentous hour of earth’s history.

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

Read John 17:9-11, 20-24. What was Jesus’ heartfelt longing? Why was this so important? How did the disciples’ relationship to one another demonstrate genuine Christian faith? See Acts 4:32-33.

The “oneness,” or unity, of the disciples prepared their hearts for the reception of the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power. Christ’s prayer for His church was fulfilled. They surrendered [...]

My Shortest Prayer
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Slippery When Wet

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24, NIV

It was a dreary day. The rain had come down in a drizzle that wet everything but didn’t clean it. The country roads were slick and dangerous.

We were returning from visiting relatives one Sabbath afternoon. My stepfather was at the wheel, Mother was sitting in the middle and I was by the window holding my 18-month-old son, Tony, on my lap. It was 1966 [...]

Sabbath: Unity: The Bond of Revival
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Read for This Week’s Study: John 17:9-11, 20-24; 1 Cor. 12:12-18; Acts 4:32-33, 1:8, 15:1-31; Matt. 18:16-20.

Memory Text: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3, NKJV).

Unity is an essential ingredient of revival. Conflict, division, and strife do not create an environment for nurturing revival. [...]

Further Study: Confession and Repentance: The Conditions of Revival
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“Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life; everything offensive to God must be put away. This will be the result of genuine sorrow for sin. The work that we have to do on our part is plainly set before us: ‘Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve [...]

Inside Story: The Newspaper Ad
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Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

Alexei scanned the classified ads of his local newspaper in Siberia, Russia.

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

He wanted to be sure that his ad for home improvements was attractive and his prices competitive. His eyes fell on the religious section of classified ads. The ads there offered to tell people’s fortunes or read their palms. So many ads for Satan, and not one for Christ, Alexei thought. He grabbed a paper and scribbled the words, “I will tell you about [...]

The Gift of Repentance
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

One of my life-long battles has been with colas. Actually I can’t honestly say I have battled it my whole life, which may be part of the problem.

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

I am not going to debate temperance vs. abstinence concerning colas, but let’s face it, they have 0% nutritional value, and if you drink too much you have the risk of cancer, diabetes and acid re-flux. So you can’t really say the nutritional value is worth all [...]