Get Out There

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So you are not the “outgoing type” or would rather curl up with a book on Friday night and not engage the world. Or maybe you are the “life of the party” kind of person and hate sitting in silence. Both people are created by God and uniquely wired to have a way to “charge up their batteries.” But when it comes to engaging those around us for Christ, our sole purpose for doing so should not be to only get something out of those relationships. We should also be looking for ways to give.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 a direct reason to introverts and extroverts to engage the culture and find new friends. You can see three versions of this text HERE, but the ESV says it this way:

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

As a single adult, you need to get out there and meet people for the sake of the Gospel! Not just to have someone to party with or call to watch a movie, but to meet lost people and show the love of God. These relationships are not for the purpose of dating, but for the Kingdom. But notice what Paul says, he does not do that because everyone is converting due to his efforts. He is doing this so that SOME MAY be saved. Just because you had lunch with a co-worker and there was not a baptism that followed, doesn’t mean you should give up on engaging those around you.

What is at stake is too great for you as a follower of Christ not to make all efforts to share the Gospel. If you don’t have a relationship with the Lord. Single adults have great opportunities to be flexible with their time and engage others. Single parents have connections as well through their family that otherwise some may never have to reach people. No matter where you are at as single adult, sharing the Gospel needs to be close to your heart daily in order that some may know Him.

LGBTQ Adults are Single Adults

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It is Table for One Ministries’ intent to have an open dialog for the local church to discuss how to effectively and lovingly reach the homosexual/same-sex attraction community. The premise of this blog is the following: marriage is between one man and one woman, all homosexual activity is a sin, every person is worth reaching, and Christ died for all. With this base in place, this writing does not seek to argue the vast points that can sprout from within these statements, but to look beyond them to find an effective means to reach the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBTQ) community.

Single adult ministry is broken down into seven areas of singleness– never married, engaged, same-sex attraction, formerly married, widowed, single parents, and separated adults. Within these categories is a wide expanse of reasons for why adults find themselves categorized as single. Some adults are single because they never found the right person, their spouse left them by choice or by death, or those who choose to forgo a typical marriage relationship for co-habitation. However, there are those who feel an attraction to the same sex. By Biblical definition, homosexuals cannot be considered anything except a single adult. If a homosexual couple considers themselves married, even in a state where the government recognizes this action, the church with a Biblical definition of marriage cannot recognize this union, and therefore, within the church, they are considered single adults.

It is Table for One’s opinion that the church should be welcoming to all people of all backgrounds in order to reach the lost for Christ. That means that the church should and will have homosexuals coming to its building and it needs to find a group to connect them with others in their life stage. This is not just those who are openly homosexual, but those who struggle with the idea of same-sex attraction and fight to not act upon it.

A scenario such as this has played out in churches across America; a homosexual couple comes in the doors of a church and asks which Sunday School class they should attend. If the church directs them to a married adult class, that action validates the sin they are committing and actually enforces it with church resources. The church should not and cannot take this action unless it compromises its view of a Biblical relationship. However, by sending the same couple to a single adult class the church does not compromise its stance on a Biblical marriage while offering a place for them to attend. Will this action offend the couple in the scenario? Maybe, but for those that have chosen to come to a church with a Biblical stance on marriage, the church demonstrates a place for them to still attend.

This single adult class referred to above is not a group focused on the conversion of every homosexual that comes in the door, rather it should be a place where any sinner can enter to find fellowship, Biblical training and the Gospel presentation. For this model to work, the church must embrace the idea that the act of homosexuality is not grounds for church banishment. It is a plan of action to accept any person and give them the Biblical foundation for a life in Christ. Its discipleship plans and programs are the same regardless of the type of sinner in attendance.

The Emperor Has no Clothes: Bruce Jenner and Gender Dysphoria

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Something is wrong; horribly, disturbingly wrong. And it has to do with the way our culture celebrates a mental disorder. Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner has brought to the forefront a condition that is growing in notoriety in our culture today, Gender Dysphoria.

This public spectacle reminds me of the old fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes. In this story, the Emperor’s vanity has allowed him to be duped into believing that he is wearing magical clothing that can only be seen by those who are wise. He doesn’t see the clothes himself but is afraid to say so for fear of being labeled a fool. In fact, no one sees the clothes because they do not exist, but no one will speak up for the same fear. One day he parades through town with his new “clothes” until one little boy has the courage to speak up and tell him that he is in fact naked.

Back to Bruce Jenner. Those who suffer from Gender Dysphoria, also known as Gender Identity Disorder or G.I.D. for short, have strong feelings that they are the opposite gender of their biological reality. Often they choose to have their bodies altered to reflect what they feel to be their true identity. This is what Bruce has done and now his decision is celebrated and applauded by nearly every media outlet.

As a Christian I struggle with knowing how to react when the culture celebrates someone’s decision to chase their happiness through drugs, hormone therapy, and gender reassignment surgery. I want to know what I should do, what I should say. Should I just remain silent? Celebration and applause doesn’t feel right. If I speak about my misgivings will I be castigated in the court of public opinion? How do I speak words of hope and healing when I don’t understand what people like Bruce, or Caitlyn, if you prefer, are going through?

I begin with two truths from God’s Word. First, God created us male and female (Gen 1:27). Second, there was intention in how each of us was created (Psalm 139:13-16). We can, therefore, deduce that the gender we are born with is not a mistake. We are who we are because that is God’s will for us. If I decide not to follow God’s will for my life, God calls that rebellion. Now there is something I know a little something about (a lot, really).

G.I.D. is really just another symptom of the fall of man. I don’t mean to oversimplify such a complex issue as G.I.D. However, original sin makes us all want to be something different than what God wants for us. We are all prone to choose our own way. Sin has distorted our view of God, it has distorted our view of others, and it has distorted our view of ourselves.

So back to how I react when faced with the media storm surrounding Bruce Jenner. First, I react with love, love for a fellow human being who needs the love and mercy of a righteous and just God. Then I speak the truth in love. Bruce Jenner will not find peace in being someone other than who God has created him to be.

There is only one way to peace, hope, and joy in who you are created to be. It is found in Jesus. Placing my faith and trust in Him means that I trust that He created me just the way He wanted me. I am not too short, my skin is not too pale, and I am the gender He wants me to be. All feelings to the contrary are a rebellion of who God has created me to be and therefore sinful. All sin leads to death (Rom 3:23) and for anyone to encourage others to revel in their rebellion is not helpful; it is destructive and mean.

I just feel like someone has to speak the truth!

 

An Eternal Perspective on Worry

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I Love Jesus.

Jesus Loves Me.

I’m Going to Heaven.

 

Simple right? But how many hours do we worry over paying bills, our retirement accounts, and having nice cars? All for what? As born-again Christians, Matthew 6:25-34 is clear how we are to feel about this life. If you want to know more about being a “born again” check out our Am I Alone page on our website.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NIV)

I Love Jesus

Christ died on a cross and rose again as an atonement or payment for our sins. “We love because Christ first loved us.” 1 John 4:9 (ESV)

Jesus Loves Me

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have life everlasting.” John 3:16 (NIV). God loves you. Jesus loves you. When you have accepted Christ you receive life everlasting.

I’m Going to Heaven

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28 (NIV). Christ followers have assurance they will spend eternity in heaven despite our sin, despite our worry.

Life is hard. Things happen. Worry creeps in every way we turn, and we struggle over and over until we worry about worrying! John 10:10 is a simple and powerful reminder to live with less stress and as God wants us to live–abundantly!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

 

How Does Your Church Greet Singles?

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Greeters across the country will wake up Sunday to serve at thousands of church doors across America. Do they realize nearly 40% of people who walk in their doors will be single adults? True, not every church has the nationwide average, but when singles attend your church how do volunteers respond?

Here are some common responses:

We have a college and career class

While the size of a church may limit the options, a college class is often not the place to send working single adults. Approximately 25% of singles who start college will graduate. Lumping 20-something singles into a college group will offend and deter the other 75%. Every person is different and needs options at your church to be connected.

We have a young adults class

The nice door greeter who assumes the guest is in their 20s instead of asking, usually takes them to a young adults class. But these classes are typically married adults with a few singles who never found a place to fit in. No matter how many ways it is tried, this group mix often fails to reach one or the other, single or married adults.

We have lots of singles in our choir

True, lots of singles may be in your choir. The reason this is common? Singles can’t find a place to connect so they go where a married status is not an issue to avoid the awkwardness. Of course it could be due to their love of choir and need to serve but some can find it to be a hiding place as well.

I am not sure, let me ask a minister/leader who may know

As your leaders and ministers have a plan to put more singles in a specific class to grow a singles ministry, make sure your greeters know that information. When greeters do not know how to respond, the leaders become aware of how many singles visit. Hopefully, the leaders will think about offering a class geared towards these individuals.

Leaders must teach greeters how to respond to singles when they enter the doors. Equipping volunteers with information will encourage the single adult to return, and hopefully become involved. Singles, if your church doesn’t have a singles class or ministry, ask your leaders if you can start one.

Singles are searching for churches where they can connect…is your church ready for them? Your church does not have to have a paid staffer that works with singles to reach singles, it simply needs a plan of action to connect singles and share that plan with volunteers.

Two Homosexuals Walk Into Your Church

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At Table for One Ministries we have written several blogs on our stance regarding same-sex attraction. In this blog, we are addressing leaders in the local church regarding how to deal with a homosexual couple that comes to visit your church. First, let’s be very clear. Those that are actively engaged in a homosexual lifestyle are single. That is how the Bible defines it and that is how we as ministry define it. That stated, here are some things to address.

1. You can not and should not assume someone is living a homosexual lifestyle. Assumptions lead to mistakes. When dealing with this issue, never ask a person if they struggle with same-sex attraction or ask a couple if they are in fact homosexuals. It is a private matter, they will address with you when they feel it appropriate.

2. The church should not and cannot resource the homosexual lifestyle. Resources come in the form of acknowledging the relationship in class, groups, or financial couple support. This comes to play when deciding which class to take a couple who has told you they are openly living the homosexual lifestyle. The response is not “nowhere”, the response is your singles ministry because those who struggle with this are single. This should be just as true for the church when heterosexual couples are living together and want to be involved in a married class.

3. Love as Christ Loves

1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

Too often love is forgotten in the name of Biblical correctness. If you encounter this situation remember first to show the same love you have been given by Christ to the person you want to see the love of Christ.

Being a Witness @ Work

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It is hard to share faith in the workplace. For one, many of our employers may discourage that type of conversation and co-workers may not be able to talk while clocked in. Years of retail observation have shown three ways in which you can share your faith as a single adult in the workplace.

1. Your attitude and how you respond to “How is your day going?” Don’t always say it’s perfect, but do try to find the good in every day and share that with others. After All, Christ died on the cross to pay our sins. How is today not a good day for all of us? Psalm 118:24.

2. Through moments of sharing your testimony. Very rarely in the retail world is there more than a few moments to talk with co-workers. But when those moments arise be honest with your story and how God is working in your life.

3. Through knowing your co-workers. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our jobs and forget that as believers we are not working for us, but we are working for the Lord. Knowing our co-workers is vital toward sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Engage your co-workers with a Kingdom mindset to understand where they are coming from and you’ll learn how you can minister to them.

We encourage you as a single adult to be generous with the time you give to know your co-workers. Don’t simply work for a paycheck, but for the Kingdom. If you are given the chance to go to lunch with a co-worker or spend time outside the workplace, do so in an effort to know them better. It will give them the opportunity to see how Christ makes a difference in your life.

Remembering 9/11 in 2013

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September 11th, 2001, planes used as missiles attacked our nation and thousands were dead. September 11th, 2012, 11 years after the original attack on our nation we are attacked again overseas in an embassy, many including our ambassador are dead. 9/11 should not just be another day, but a day that we remember and share the stories of that day.

Below is a video of one mans journey leading up to 9/11 and how God used that day to bolden his faith. It is almost 10 minutes long, but we promise as you watch the gripping story it will not feel that long. Take time today to remember where you were 12 years ago. Share that story with others and be bold in your faith. 9/11 saw an incredible surge in church attendance and followers of Christ.

Maybe you were very young on 9/11 and you don’t have much of a story to tell, or maybe like some your life was forever changed on that day. Reflect on the past 12 years and where you have come from and where God is leading you. Are you closer to God than you were then? Maybe it is time to take action and build a closer relationship with God. Time is like a blink of an eye, start living for Christ,

What’s in a Verse?

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Are you a Pinner? Table for One is on Pinterest @ www.pinterest.com/tableforonemin. We have over 1,500 followers and nearly 4,000 pins. We see nearly 100,000 views a day of our pins and many visits to our website from those pins. Our pins that generate the most traffic are ones with Scripture on them.

What is your favorite verse in Scripture? Search for it on Pinterest and you will be amazed at all the artwork you will find. Scripture portrayed in visual form is powerful, bold, and by pinning it you are spreading God’s Word. Your favorite verse or life verse means a lot to you, so share it with world! Use social media as a way to show your friends what you value and hold close to your heart. Conversations can stem from simple pinning that can encourage others or open a door to share the Gospel.

Everything we do is for His glory! Make sure that social media and every pin you pin glorifies the Lord. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Pin clean jokes, recipes, craft ideas, and more all for the Kingdom.

Freedom

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Fourth of July, Independence Day; the day when Americans celebrate the very heart of our national identity—our freedom. While we celebrate that freedom with hot dogs and fireworks, and acknowledge the great sacrifices individual citizens have made to secure it, we also need to remember that our national liberty is ultimately of this world.

The only true freedom is found in Jesus Christ. Part of his mission was to “proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1). When we give Christ control and make Him Lord in our lives, we are granted an eternal freedom that can never be taken away from us. Each time we lean towards the world and away from God, we waste the freedom for which Christ died. Our pride and stubbornness can lead us to think we have the “right” to do as we please (1 Corinthians 10:23). But Paul warned against such behaviors. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13)..

For more than two centuries, American soldiers have fought and sacrificed for our freedom. They have striven to ensure our “unalienable rights [of] life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”—our very freedom. Not just to dream of what we want in life, but to chase those dreams. What a waste, therefore, to sit by idly, letting our days go by without pursuing our happiness.

Likewise, and much more importantly, Christ died that we might have abundant life (John 10:10), or as The Message puts it: “more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” Jesus came to release us from the slavery of sin.There are some sins in my life that I seem to repeat over and over. I get tired of fighting my sin. I find myself praying that God would not get tired of me asking forgiveness for the same sin I needed forgiveness for yesterday. Many of us struggle in this way, but if I give up struggling, if i give up the pursuit, I am squandering my freedom.

I would not want to explain to a soldier, someone who sacrificed for my freedom, that I treated that sacrifice as anything less than a precious gift—that I did not pursue my happiness with everything I had. In the same way, I have no desire to explain to Jesus that I gave into my flesh and abused the freedom He gave me—that I chose not to pursue the abundant life he has for me.

This Fourth of July I pray that I will serve others “humbly in love,” pursue the dreams God has given me and thereby honor the One who made me truly free indeed.