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January 2010
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March 2010

Connecting Skills - 5. The Art of Forgiveness

Jesus made a choice to forgive those who nailed him to that cross – even though they never asked for it. That's amazing, yet forgiveness is such an important keep in connecting with other people. Many of the people we connect with will be different than us. Yet, often these kinds of relationships provide the opportunity for us to grow and develop the most. They draw us out of our comfort zones and stretch our loving capacity. There is no greater challenge in building community than to master the art of handling anger and conflict. We all know what it... Read more →

Connecting Skills - 4. The Art of Authenticity

Jesus was a very transparent person. He let his friends see him as he really was - in moments of joy, sadness, anger, and fatigue. His followers never had to guess whether he was delighted or disappointed. He modeled deep disclosure to a few trusted friends. Read this slowly ... Matthew 26:36-38. Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said... Read more →

Connecting Skills - 3. The Art of Empathy

Jesus had an amazing ability to see a person’s heart and their deepest needs – to understand things from their perspective. He could look beneath the surface of the matter (external) and see a person's heart (internal). He modeled the art of empathy. Pay attention to people. Look beyond their words to what is happening on the inside. Slow down and stop talking. Listen. Observe. Place all of your energy in seeking to truly understand the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Try to understand the words and the implied message. Use your free mental time to observe, concentrate and evaluate... Read more →

Connecting Skills - 2. The Art of Listening

Jesus was a person who had so much to say, yet he was a great listener. He was always asking questions. In doing so, he drew people out and got to know them and helped them get to know themselves. Relationships are built on communication and communication is built on good listening skills. Listening is one of the greatest ways to communicate love and value to another person. It helps you understand people and it earns you the right to be heard. James tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, which is the opposite of our... Read more →

Connecting Skills - 1. The Art of Acceptance

In order for us to connect or relate effectively with other people, we need to learn some important skills. These skills can help us as we connect with other people with our families at home, with co-workers in the workplace, and in small groups and serving teams at church. 1. The Art of Acceptance Jesus had an amazing ability to accept people – all people, just as they were, ‘as is.’ He treated every person as if they were very important – even those despised by others in his culture, such as beggars, women, and children. He placed a #10... Read more →

Everybody's Normal ... Till You Get to Know Them

Connecting with other people in close relationship is not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes we can develop an idealistic picture of what community should be, even in the church. The truth is that developing close and enjoyable relationships is not easy. John Ortberg has an excellent book on relationships with a great title: Everybody’s Normal - Till You Get to Know Them. How true is that! Have you ever bought something from a shop that said ‘as is?’ You know right away that the item is most likely slightly irregular or that something is missing or that it doesn't... Read more →


"Edward Hallowell writes that for most people the two most powerful experiences in life are achieving and connecting. Most of what grabs our attention and commands our energy falls under these two categories. Connecting has to do with our relational world - things like falling in love, forming great friendships, being cared for when we are sick, or receiving words of deep affection from parents. Achieving has to do with our accomplishments - winning contests, pursuing career success, or realising a difficult goal. Hallowell points out that our society is increasingly devoted to, obsessed with, and enslaved by achieving, and... Read more →

Day 14 of Prayer - Our World

As followers of Christ, we are here on this earth to be ambassadors of His kingdom. We are here to bring His rule and reign into every area and arena of life. Take some time to consider and reflect on the issues facing our world right now. Think about poverty, crime, terrorism, war, and the environment for starters. Pray for God’s will to be done – as in heaven so on earth. Pray about what contribution or difference you could make to see our world become what God intended it to be. "Our Father in heaven, may your name be... Read more →

Day 13 of Prayer - Leaders

In many ways, homes, business, organisations, governments and even churches rise and fall on the quality their leadership. Leaders are important because they influence many others. That’s why leaders are often the target of the enemies attack (Matthew Take some time to pray for our political and community leaders, for church leaders, for leaders or authorities in your own life. See them as God’s representatives and seek to encourage, support and assist them in their important role serving the greater good (see Romans 13:1-7).“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede... Read more →

Day 12 of Prayer - Nations

God sends us not only to our community and our cities but also to the far reaches of the earth (Acts 1:8). God’s heart is for every people group, and there are still many who have never even heard the name of Jesus. God’s heart is for every sector of society. We have a cultural mandate to go into all the ‘world’, which is the Greek word ‘cosmos’ and which refers to the social order that exists. Business, government, media, and education all need the influence of people who know and love God. Pray for mission workers. Pray for more... Read more →

Day 11 of Prayer - Cities

God calls us to pray for the peace of the city in which we live and to seek to be a blessing to it, wherever that may be and no matter how ‘evil’ that city may be. Let’s be more like Abram who even prayed for Sodom that God would preserve it from judgment than Jonah who wanted god to judge Nineveh rather than show it mercy. Pray for your city – its leaders, its influencers, and its people. Pray for the churches in our city – large and small, traditional and contemporary, evangelical and Pentecostal. Pray for church leaders... Read more →

Day 10 of Prayer - Communities

God has called each church to have a positive impact on its local community. The church is God’s people called out of the world and then sent back into the world to influence it for God. Consider your local neighbourhood and community. Pray for its leaders and influencers. Pray for the needs you see. Consider in what way you can be God’s hands and feet. Seek to bring God’s blessing. Build relationships. Meet needs. Then share about Jesus (see Luke 10:1-9). Pray for organisations and ministries, such as our own CityLife Community Care, that they will be able to continue... Read more →

Day 9 of Prayer - the Next Generation

Each generation has a responsibility to serve God’s purpose for their time in history (see Acts 13:36) and pass on the knowledge of God to the next generation (Psalm 71:18; 78:4-7). That is why children’s and youth ministry are so important within each church community. Pray for our young people – that they will come to know God for themselves, that they will see that God’s ways are best, and that they will discover a sense of purpose for their lives. Pray for parents. Pray for children’s and youth workers, as well as school teachers – for wisdom, grace and... Read more →

Day 8 of Prayer - The Family

God ordained the family as the cornerstone of society. Fathers and mothers play important roles in bringing up the next generation (Deuteronomy 6:1-9). Pray for marriages – that husbands and wives would love and respect each other (Ephesians 5:21-33). Pray for single people that they would find a sense of identity, value, connection, and contribution. Pray for parents that God would give them wisdom and insight into bringing out the best in each of their children. Pray especially for single parents for grace and strength. Pray for families where there has been conflict and a breakdown of relationships. Pray for... Read more →

Day 7 of Prayer - Sharing Good News

Jesus gave his followers two great commandments (love God and love your neighbour) and a great commission – to tell others everywhere the good news of his love and of God’s kingdom (Matthew 28:18-20). We are called to BE and SHARE good news wherever we go. Think about the people God has positioned you near who don’t yet know him personally. Pray for them by name. Pray for wisdom and courage to be a witness for Christ to them. Consider how you can show God’s love to them in practical ways. Pray about inviting them to your home or to... Read more →

Day 6 of Prayer - Money Money

We are stewards or managers of all that God has given us – our talents, our time, and our resources, including our money. God will hold us accountable for how we use what he has given us. He desires a return on his investment in our lives (Matthew 25:14-30. Romans 14:12. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). How we handle our money is a measure of our maturity (Luke 16:1-13). Money is a good servant but a terrible master. It can be a benefit in our lives and be used for great good OR it can cause a lot of damage if we... Read more →

Day 5 of Prayer - Our Holy Calling

As followers of Christ, we are ‘saved’ and ‘called’ with a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9). God has a mission and a task for us to fulfil – in our families, in the church, and in the world. He has given us spiritual gifts and natural abilities that are ways for us to serve others and make the world a better place. Have you discovered your gifts? Are you developing them and deploying them for the benefit of God’s kingdom? Take some time to reflect on why you are here on earth. What is your purpose and the contribution God... Read more →

Day 4 of Prayer - Supplication

God is interested in the details of our lives. We can bring our needs and concerns to him. He hears us and takes an interest in our lives. Pray for yourself, as well as your family and friends. Be specific and ask in faith, believing that God will answer and do what is best. “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will... Read more →

Day 3 of Prayer - Thanksgiving

Worship is more of a focus on loving God for who he is while praise is thanking him for all he has done. Make a list of things you are thankful to God for and take the time to express your thanks to him. Endeavour to cultivate an attitude of gratitude each day. Express your gratitude to other people in your life too. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” [Psalm 107:1. NLT] “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” [1 Thess.5:18. NLT] Read more →

Day 2 of Prayer - Confession

Sin is disobedience to the commands that God has given us for life. It dishonours God and it causes damage to our lives. Thankfully, God is a God of forgiveness and grace. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and see if there is any thought, word, or action that you need to repent of. Bring it before the Lord. Is there any person you have a negative attitude towards or unresolved conflict with? What can you do today to deal with this (Matt.5:23-24)? Like Paul, seek to maintain a clear conscience without any unresolved issue – with either... Read more →