LEADING YOUR CHURCH THROUGH CHANGE

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Introduction to Leading Your Church Through Change

We live in a world saturated with change, a world where the only constant is change. Unfortunately, the church has a reputation for being one of the last places to embrace change. Some congregations, trying to avoid the reality of a changing world, decide to live in the past. Others attempt to grip tightly to the status quo. But whether we admit it or not, the status quo is a myth. To stand still in a world, where everything is changing and at an ever-increasing rate, is to be left behind.

DIRIGIENDO A SU CONGREGACIÓN HACIA LA VISIÓN DE DIOS

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Introducción A: Dirigiendo su Congregación y Capítulo 1

Guiando a tu congregación hacia la visión de DiosVivimos en un mundo saturado de cambios, en donde la única constante es el cambio. Desafortunadamente, a la iglesia se le conoce como uno de los últimos lugares en donde se abraza el cambio. Algunas congregaciones, al tratar de evitar la realidad de un mundo cambiante, tratan de vivir en el pasado; otras, tratan de aferrarse al status quo. Admitámoslo o no, el status quo es un mito. En este mundo en que vivimos, todo está cambiando y lo hace cada vez más vertiginosamente.

YOU CAN'T ALWAYS CHOOSE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES

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I have been leading a weekly study on the book of Philippians, written by the Apostle Paul while he was incarcerated for his faith. The theme I’ve been focusing on is ATTITUDE, for two reasons. First, there is an explicit challenge throughout the book to have a positive, Christ-like attitude, such as what is found in Philippians 2:5. Paul writes, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” (verse 5, NASB)

And second reason is that throughout this book we see the Apostle Paul modeling a positive attitude, despite the fact that his circumstances were quite challenging. We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control how we respond to our circumstances.  

YOUR ATTITUDE IS A CHOICE!

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In looking at this picture, what do you see? Do you see a hole in the ground?

Or do you see a bale of hay.

Which one did you see first?

It is all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

Attitude is a little like this. Attitude is our perspective on things. Our attitude is the choice we make on how we see things.

We can choose to always see things in a negative light. Or we can choose to see things in a positive light. Out attitude is the lens through which we look at things.

WHAT IS INSIDE YOU IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU!

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Our circumstances can feel overwhelming at times, can’t they?

Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed during this unprecedented time of the corona virus pandemic. Perhaps you’ve lost your job or anxious about the bills to pay. Perhaps your marriage or your family is feeling like it’s coming apart. Or perhaps temptation toward an addiction is increasing.

The Apostle Paul, writing from circumstances that were most challenging—imprisoned by Rome and waiting for a hearing before emperor Nero for four years—gives us insight into what gave him strength to get through. Here’s what it was.

He chose to focus, not on things around him, but on the God in Him.

He writes: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

BETTER TOGETHER!

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In this COVID-19 season we are walking through, anxiety is at a high level. Uncertainty is always a source of anxiety. And there is so much we don’t know.

Anxiety spreads the way a virus spreads. It’s passed on person to person. And it's highly contagious.

Given the call for social distancing and stay at home orders, it can feel like we are having to deal with all the stress and anxiety alone. Isolation compounds our anxiety.

I am spending time these days in the New Testament book of Philippians. One of the reasons I was drawn to this book is that its author, the Apostle Paul, wrote this letter to Christians living in Philippi when he was in the middle of social distancing, under order to not move about. He wrote this letter while incarcerated in Rome, waiting for four years to have his case heard by the emperor Nero.

WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO THINK ABOUT AFFECTS YOU!

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Just finished my guys’ Thursday morning small group via Zoom. We’re eight guys, the majority who play ice hockey, who have been meeting for seven weeks focusing on living out our life’s purpose. 

We just began a new study of the book of Philippians. We chose this book because the Apostle Paul wrote this letter of encouragement while socially distanced, under house arrest. Paul spent four years in Roman custody, awaiting Emperor Nero’s final decision in his case. 

The Apostle’s circumstances were far from ideal. His was a very difficult and challenging situation. Yet, he maintained positive. 

And maybe this is part of the reason why. Note that he did not focus on himself and his terrible situation. He focused his thinking on others. 

THE CHURCH HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

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The church is not the building! No doubt, you've heard that before.

The church is people, indwelt by and empowered by the Spirit of God, who serve God's glorious purposes by using the gifts of the Spirit He has entrusted to us.

The Corona virus epidemic has quite literally catapulted the church out of our buildings, and perhaps out of an old paradigm. Perhaps for too long we have overly associated the church with buildings, programs and performances.

For sure, there will always be a need for the church to gather. But maybe we have overplayed the gathered church and underplayed the importance of the scattered church which Jesus spoke about in Acts 1:8, when He said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

YOU NEVER KNOW, DO YOU?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2020

This morning I received a text, from a number I did not recognize. The text read:

“Good morning Chaplain Harpell. My name is John.* I met you a while ago in front of the arena after I picked up my guitar. I'm the one-legged marine you talked to. I'm asking for nothing but your prayers. We recently found out that our 6-month-old daughter has cancer. If you could pray for her I would greatly appreciate it.”

Dr. Brian Harpell recently joins ACTION INTERNATIONAL MINISTRIES

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Dr. Brian Harpell recently joined with the ACTION Pastor Leadership Development Program, though he has been partnering with ACTION for over a decade. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Dr. Harpell came to the United States in the early 70s to pursue his Master of Divinity degree and later his Doctor of Ministry degree, and now lives in the United States.

He has served as a lead pastor of three churches for over 42 years, his most recent church in Everett, Washington, for 30 years. He is much sought after as a teacher for workshops, seminars, conferences and at seminaries in Canada, the United States and Cuba on the topic of leadership.