Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Free Range

Free Range

Free range is a term that has recently attracted some attention. It is typically used in reference to housing livestock in a natural environment that allows freedom of movement. This is not only more humane but it also produces a healthier animal for market.

Interestingly, the term free range has also become linked to parenting styles. Some parents have come under investigation for giving their children what is perceived by some as too much freedom or lack of proper supervision. However, research supports the assertion that a healthy degree of free range parenting helps to develop more responsible adults.

Why does this matter? What's the point? How does this relate to our walk with God?

Walking with God is a walk of faith. A life of faith requires some level of risk. Trusting in God causes us to confront fears and tackle uncertainties. We learn to take responsibility for our lives by learning to depend on God.

It seems counter-intuitive to equate taking responsibility with dependency. Yet, the more confident we become in God's care for us and the more assured we become in the integrity of his promises, the more freedom we experience. Becoming dependent on God doesn't confine or disable us, instead it expands our horizons and enlarges our willingness to step boldly into the unknown.

The life of faith is free range. It is here that we enjoy our intended environment and freedom of movement. Not freedom from God, but freedom to walk with God and become all that he purposes for us.

Good things happen when we spend time in the right environment. That's what Empower NBCA School of Ministry is all about. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Measure What Matters

Measure What Matters

It doesn't take long to figure out that the world is full of different views and opinions. We don't always agree on what's important or on what matters the most. We don't all see the "good life" in quite the same way. 

This results in using different ways of measuring success. Some people look at the outward and tangible assets as measuring sticks; things like money, homes, cars, and such. Others look at the inward and intangible rewards; things like status, satisfaction, contentment, and so on.

What is your scorecard? What do you see as being of greatest value? How are you measuring the outcomes of your life?

I want to challenge you with these words from Peter the Apostle. In Second Peter 3:18 he ends his letter like this; But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.....

I think that sums things up pretty well. In all of our coming and going, in all of our plans and pursuits, let's prioritize growing in the knowledge and likeness of Jesus.

When the dust settles and we come to end of the road, how will we determine if we had a life well-lived? There are many ways to answer that question, but I suggest that we uphold pursuing Christ-likeness as our standard.

Let's live out our years by measuring what matters. Let's endeavor to become more like Jesus. That's what Empower NBCA School of Ministry is all about. Helping you walk a path of continuous growth and learning in pursuit of who and what matters most.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

The World Cup Finals are taking place this week, which means one of the four finalist countries will soon be crowned the world champion of soccer. This is of paramount importance to many sports fans all around the world. Winning the championship is the ultimate dream and ambition of each team.

There is something within each of us that longs for victory. We all want to be the winner. We all want to receive the prize.

The Apostle Paul wrote of this in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

He understood the importance of keeping your eyes on the prize. We enjoy sports for many reasons, but I think one of the biggest reasons is because it is a reflection of the human experience. Our lives can be compared to a race, a competition, a pursuit of a prize.

The Scripture encourages us to run in such a way as to get the prize, which includes strict training. Without training and discipline, our chances of getting the prize are greatly diminished.

That's what Empower NBCA School of Ministry is all about. Helping you train so you can run in such a way as to get the prize. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Invest in your future

Invest in your future

Our nation recently celebrated another birthday. We call it the Fourth of July. The day has become a national holiday to commemorate the founding of our country.

Beyond the backyard picnics, flag waving, and fireworks displays, there is something else about this holiday that I want to bring to your attention. It's the level of investment from our founding fathers. They were fully committed because they had a vision for their future.

I'm not much of a historian, but it's not difficult to understand that these men were willing to face tremendous odds because they believed in the future of America. They were not perfect people, and our nation isn't without fault either. I'm simply making an observation that the freedoms we celebrate today were made possible by people who were willing to invest in their future.

It's been 242 years since July 4, 1776, but some things haven't changed. Dreams are still accomplished and possibilities are still fulfilled by people willing to invest in their future.

How are you investing in your future? How are you preparing for what you believe is God's plan for you? What steps are you taking to get there?

Empower NBCA School of Ministry is designed to help you discover your call, own your call, and live your call for the glory of God. It's not just taking classes. It's more than learning the Bible. It's an investment in your future. Because a wise investment is still the way to something worth celebrating.



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

What are you doing with now?

What are you doing with the now?

I'm a big proponent of forward thinking and marching through life with a clear vision for the future. That's how things get done and progress is made. However, we must remind ourselves that the building blocks of our future consist of what we are doing with the now. 

The now keeps changing, but our commitment to the now must stay the course. Moment by moment, and day by day, what we experience in the now is subject to change. Regardless of the circumstance, how we treat the now makes all the difference.

After all, the now is really all we have to work with. What's behind us is a memory, and what's before us is a dream. Our only meaningful option is to seize the now and do our best with it.

Wishing things were different or wondering what things will be like may be natural, but it will never prove to be enough. What wins the day and moves the ball is what you are doing with the now. That means translating the desires of your heart into purposeful action.

That takes risk. That takes sacrifice. That takes faith. That is the path of possibilities.

What do you hope to accomplish? Where do you want to go in life? How do you want to impact the world? Those questions are best summed up in this one question. What are you doing with the now?

Empower NBCA School of Ministry is something you can do right now to help you get to where you want to be. Nothing changes without a commitment to doing something with the now.   

Thursday, June 28, 2018

To Serve and To Solve

To serve and to protect is the motto of many local police departments. It is inscribed on their vehicles and it is the standard they are expected to uphold.

I recently read an article on leadership in which the author had some similar ideas. He was talking about how the best way to train emerging leaders is to encourage them to do two things; to serve and to solve.

I like the sound of that. Not only is it catchy, but those two little words say a lot. To serve and to solve are two foundational attributes of biblical leadership because they reflect the ministry of Christ.

Jesus humbly served the will of the Father and graciously served the needs of humanity. Jesus also showed himself to be a consistent and powerful problem-solver.

When people were hungry, he fed them. When people were confused, he taught them. When people were hurting, he healed them. When people were wrong, he corrected them. When people were imperfect, he forgave them. When people were in danger, he rescued them.

The life of Christ reminds us that our calling is to follow his example to serve and to solve. We live in a world filled with needs to be served and problems to be solved.

When we start following Jesus, he starts directing our hearts toward people to serve and problems to solve. Who are the people you desire to serve? What are the problems you desire to solve?

Empower NBCA School of Ministry can help prepare you for a life of biblical leadership; a life empowered by Christ to serve and to solve. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Special Announcement

We interrupt regular programming to make this special announcement.

Empower NBCA School of Ministry is pleased to announce the launch of their evening program. Beginning in Fall of 2018, classes will now meet on Sunday evenings from 6-9 pm.

This new format allows students to earn an Associate Degree in Ministry and gain practical ministry experience while only meeting once per week.

First year courses are: Interpreting the Bible, Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, Calling & Purpose, Faith Life, Prayer Life, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Gifts, Personal Finances, Supportive Ministries, The Ultimate Voice, and Apologetics.

Second year courses are: Biblical Leadership, Life of Christ, Book of Acts, Basic Bible Doctrines, Marriage & Family, Theology, Ministerial Ethics, The Great Commission, Teaching the Bible, Ministry Practicalities, Research Project, Mentoring Project, Capstone Project.

Please contact us at empowernbca@gmail.com or 724.846.8820 x 25 for more information.

The application deadline is August 1, 2018.