The Church’s Growth

In working together it’s good for the church to have a sense of solidarity.  Be innovative and see the transforming power of the Holy Spirit at work in its midst.  It’ll be necessary to pay attention to your parishioners and be an active coordinator of the community.  By keeping your finger on the pulse of the group and knowing when affirmations are in order will stave off countless headaches.  By so doing you’ll be practicing good management skills in monitoring your parish, and you’ll be demonstrating good spiritual leadership.  Konrad von Gesner (1516–1565), a Swiss naturalist and photographer said, “Best of all is to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song.”

Emphasize Service

In your church use your gift of leadership to rally others to fulfill the congregation’s objectives.  Before doing so, it’s wise to seek counsel from experts and experienced parishioners.  An English writer and clergyman Robert Burton (1577–1640) wrote, “Who cannot give good counsel?  [I]ts cheap, it costs them nothing.”

In churches in some countries priests have even been known to wash the feet of women where such action has been considered a cultural taboo.  But the goal of such demonstration was to motivate and enlist members to do the same.  This was done in the spirit of humble service that’s a true mission of religious leadership.

Follow Willingly

To lead a congregation the hierarchical leadership has to be centered on having the respect of the followers.  The congregants must never feel they are herded like cattle.  It’s best to have them volunteer for ministries, and have parishioners, consider themselves as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Such an attitude will invigorate the community.  Members will be interacting with a spirit of goodwill. They will be clear about their roles in the church.

Rob McKenna (b. 1927), a Dominican bishop said, “You can study government and politics in school, but the best way to really understand the process is to volunteer your time.”  McKenna’s advice wasn’t only meant for governmental workers, but it’s also appropriate for the church.

A Matter of Values

It’s wise always to want the best for all members.  This means everyone has to be treated like a colleague who’s vital to the parish.  One doesn’t have to own a limousine to be considered a success in life.  Having impeccable values and blessed with positive attitudes are more important.  For through these qualities it’ll be necessary to promote growth within the church.  These gifts lead to spiritual excellence and are empowering to the community.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945), a president of the United States wrote, “I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can surely pick smart colleagues.”  A leader in the church must always be looking out for talented individuals to lead the congregation.  This untapped resource usually gives new vitality to a church.  It’s the foundation of a community’s future.  New talent strengthens growth, and paves the way for the advancement of the best in Christ.

 

Small & Beautiful

It’s always best to embrace small and beautiful growth.  This means that consumers will have to downsize.  They should focus on having the right goals in life.  An accumulation of material possessions is far from the answer.  Overabundance can lead all sorts of dehumanization, so people should ask, “Why must they acquire less earthly possessions?”

Being caretakers of planet earth people do have ownership already over many gifts of nature.  It’s for us not to be greedy by pursuing gluttonous lives.  As good stewards make what has been bequeathed to us our responsibility to preserve and protect.  Make sure that ownership of excesses doesn’t lead to clutter and pollution of our environment.  Our minds ought to focus on ecological endeavors.  As a result we’ll see ourselves not only as defenders of people’s rights, but as protectors of our environment.

Commodities in Life

Our production model must be geared toward the purposeful usage of commodities.  It’s for us to concentrate on what we essentially want, and not delight in an overabundance of material goods by being pleasure seekers in the world.  We should ask the question: “When is having enough, enough?”  It’s necessary to look at our belongings, and consider what we can do without.  In their twilight years some seniors find it necessary to downsize the contents of their homes.

Notable writers have opted for living simply.  Some of these professionals are able to demonstrate how to make mother earth sustainable.  These authors, philosophers, social scientists and media critics are: Ernest Callenbach, Duane Elgin, Richard Gregg, Harland Hubbard, Mark Boyle – the Moneyless Man, Jim Herkel and Daniel Suelo.

Media & Sustainability

Print media like Mother Earth News, The Power of Half, and The Good Life have been pushing Americans toward sustainability with their repeated mantra of simplicity.  If possible, it’ll be wise to return to the land, for it’s amazing how much the Bible teaches about nature and a pastoral life. Psalm 23 describes people as “sheep with a shepherd.”  It envisions a future of everlasting joy of peace, and humility in the abiding grace of God.

A British economist E.F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful explains the right growth required to accomplish such a task.  We have to put our trust in the Lord in developing the best attitude about these conditions.  People ought to pray for guidance to make right decisions about our environment.  Knowledge, wisdom and truth must be pursued in making decisions concerning our natural environment.  Small is Beautiful in the Times Literary Supplement was considered among the 100 most influential books.  But our spirituality will help us understand why God is asking us to embrace simplicity.  This goal will provide insights about our lives, needs, hopes and dreams.  In the end it’ll help us to be better stewards, not only of our households, but of all God’s creation.

God’s Blessings

Peoples’ lives are blessed if they live God-centered lives.  Each day we’ll be able to give thanks not only for the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and our homes, but also the renewal of our environment.  Simplicity will come naturally for we’ll feed the poor and hungry alike, and provide for the homeless.  These are our neighbors that we often leave out of our abundance.  By meeting these needs with a willing heart will enable us to be truly blessed, because we’ll be living God-directed lives.  Once these goals are accomplished, people shall proclaim themselves true adherents in pursuing small and beautiful growth.

Be a Shining Light

Are you reluctant to give love, or do you harbor feelings of ill-will?  It may be that you are bearing a grudge.  That’s when you can’t budge from the sad thoughts of life.  Why aren’t you able to move on from these corrupted thoughts?   There’s a song by a British quintet entitled, “A Grudge in the Key of Sludge” that captures people’s rather melancholy state.

 Blood, Sweat & Tears

Some people view life as nothing more than blood, sweat and tears.  True, there can be hard times when struggling to accomplish our goals.  As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.”  Often we make sacrifices in laboring at tasks.  These tasks may not all be physical, but may be any type of work.  In studying an education is challenging.  Some fear taking courses that are difficult.  These subjects may be in science.  Yet there are those that love science and technology.  But others may struggle in physical activities, English, or a foreign language.  But with these tests do we have to feel as though we’re ill-suited for life?

There was a contemporary American jazz-rock group – Blood, Sweat & Tears, well known in the 1960s and early 1970s, a brainchild of the legendary Al Kooper, who puts a new spin on the group’s name, for this band brought joy with music.  Songs that were great hits were: “Child Is The Father To The Man,” “And When I Die,” “You Made Me So Very Happy,” and “Spinning Wheel.”  The group’s music and lyrics captured the realities of life.  In short they sang: “One time you’re up, another you’re down.  Now you’re happy, soon you’re sad.  Anyway, life’s never the same.”  So why would people want to hold on to feelings of ill-will?

Untapped Creativity

Soon or later in life some people find their niche.  Scripture tells us each one has at least one gift.  But some Christians may be blessed with many more.  The key in unlocking your hidden potential is by filtering the noise and distraction from our life.  Patiently embrace peace in tackling problems.  Try to avoid situations which make you become unfocused and irritable.  Relax, play music that lightens your mood, and cultivate those qualities that are beneficial.  With prayer and meditation trust your experiences and you’ll surely discover your untapped potential.

Taste Life’s Possibilities

Try pursuing your own fulfillment with ease, joy and comfort.  Then find meaning in signs, coming your way to test your beliefs.  During your quest you’ll be sure to encounter the miraculous.  In accessing the unknown areas in your life you’ll be able to sleep better, have more energy, and be at peace.  Concerning your future you’ll probably need information from a trusted mentor.  But as you grow older and wiser you’ll realize that although work and money are important, life consists of other essential characteristics.  In a British documentary entitled: “The Possibilities Are Endless”, William Collins focused on life’s infinite realities proved educational.  Watching a show like this may be quite helpful.

Why bear a grudge?

Being reluctant to give should never be in the playbook of a Christian.  He or she must reach out to the needy and to everyone who needs help.  The essence of Christian living is to give and serve others with joy.  With their talent and treasure some Christians are avid givers.  They volunteer at hospitals, nursing homes, book mobiles and at libraries.  When it comes to giving treasure it isn’t only the collection plate in which they drop checks on Sundays, but they also donate to other charitable organizations.

When giving there should be no ill-intent.  Many Christians see themselves as being truly blessed.  For years they have worked in careers, and are now giving back to their communities.  They consider such acts good, for they have tasted life’s possibilities, and are happy to reciprocate.  This giving is wonderful because it provides vital needs to the least among us.   It’s true that a life saved may well become a shining light to emulate.

 

Walking Simply in Love

In life it’s delightful to live simply and share our gifts with others.  That’s how we can capture the dignity of living fulfilled lives.  Life is all about faithful service, and by understanding different in cultures, we’ll love God more, as well as our neighbors.  We’ll be able to capture the truth about brotherly and sisterly love.  Our acts of affection will satisfy many biblical promises in the world.  Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997), a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary said, “Let us meet each other with [a] smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”  Knowingly and unknowingly people take their cues from believers.

The Road in Life

Being in Christ there’s a surge of new life.  This could be seen in our churches.  There are those people, who even express this blessing in their daily walk.  Their demeanor shows the embodiment of the merciful love of God.  This sort of love is effective for its healing.  It doesn’t discriminate, nor makes distinctions.  It’s through this caring bridges are built in our world.  These are visual signs of God’s love working within and through us.  People’s love is simply embraced and nurtured.  It’s an ever-watchful as we continue our spiritual journey.  But there’s another way to determine love’s effectiveness.  Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), a Baptist minister, activist, and African-American Civil Rights Movement leader wrote, “A genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus but a molder of consensus.”  It’s for Christians to take people where they are, and bring them along the path of righteousness.   

 Kingdom of Life

It isn’t enough only to be a lover of life, for such people may be selfish in their desires.  It’s wrong to be self-centered and living a life without God.  News about God mustn’t be buried, but proclaimed to build confidence in the world.  To know the glory of Christ we’ve to be creators, who are willing to show others love.  This is how we demonstrate the power of everlasting life entrusted to believers.  Ralph Ellison (1914–1994), a novelist and literary critic said, “If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to blind, imprison and destroy.”  There’s a big difference between “worldly” and “spiritual” love.  Unlike “worldly,” the “spiritual” enlightens and uplifts our hearts and minds.

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), an Irish playwright, novelist, and poet wrote, “Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and to do more.”  People could only attain these gifts by accepting our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in their lives.  How we live is determined not only by what we see, but by unseen forces.

 Having Compassion

People must be compassionate towards others.  One of the ways that they can accomplish this is by interacting with them.  As missionaries we have to be compassionate by the way we treat people.  By being loving custodians we’ve to model the love of Christ.  This is the beginning of love that reaches out to our communities.

Muhammad Ali (b. 1942), a former professional boxer said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”  Undoubtedly if people believed they must serve, for it’s the way they must pay back for their stay on earth, this world would be a far better place.  People wouldn’t be so self-centered, but see themselves more as their brothers and sisters’ keepers on earth.  To accomplish such goals are to walk simply in love, and serve others.