20 Years

 

Where has the time gone? It does not seem like 20 years have passed since my last drink of alcohol or drug use, but it has. 20 years ago, I never thought that I would see this day. 20 years ago, I never thought I would still be alive to celebrate sobriety with a rib eye and lobster dinner, but that is what I will do tonight.

My first drink of alcohol took place when I was about 10 years old. My last drink was when I was 33 years old. I drank whatever was handy for 23 years. I used whatever was handy for 23 years. My drink or drug of choice was “What do you have” and I was not a specialist by any stretch of the word. Near the end of my drinking career, I did drink more gin than any other type of alcohol but that was only because I thought no one liked the taste and so there would be more for me. I did not know at the time just how many mixed drinks are made with gin in them.

My last drink was on January 27th, 1990. My first 24 hours without alcohol sober was on January 28th, 1990. So I have used the 28th of January as my sobriety date for the last 20 years.

If God allows me to open my eyes in the morning, I will be honored with 20 years sober and clean. A mile stone of gratitude that has been gifted to me solely by the loving grace of a truly loving God one day at a time. To whom all credit is due.

Sincerely, Guy Lewis

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Words We Misunderstand – Fellowship

I was thinking, which can be a dangerous thing, about words. Word’s describe the expression of many things within our daily lives.

– Some words describe the expression of hate and anger.

– Some words describe the expression of work and duty.

– Some words describe the expression of idealness and slothfulness.

– Some words describe the expression of feelings and emotions.

However, we humans have grown to misunderstand some of the word’s we use every day. One of these misunderstood words is fellowship.

Fellowship:

Fellowship is a word that describes the active way we are to treat each other within our lives. Our father has expressed to us His thoughts on this important word’s action. He explained very carefully but we have allowed this word to take on different, less active, importance then God intended. To the first Christians, fellowship was a daily activity, full of action, not something that took place once a month at the church building over a meal or before and after assembly. We see in Acts chapter two that true Christian fellowship was an active part of life and took place daily between all the Christians.

True fellowship is why we are to assemble as directed in Hebrews chapter ten, which says nothing about only fellowshipping one day a week. The implication of Hebrews chapter ten is an activity we are to do daily. True fellowship is to ensure and inspire a relationship of unity between all Christians, a relationship with God, and join in unified commitment to Jesus in the fulfillment of God has willed.

Fellowship is the crucial way that God intends for us to accomplish His given purpose, of each individual Christian, of the church – through individual Christians – as we discover in Ephesians chapter three.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 12 we see that all members, are vital to God’s will concerning fellowship. No one is to be ignored or over looked. Also in this chapter, we see that God does not give anyone the right to remove himself or herself from the importance of fellowship, no one has the right to separate themselves from the functioning body of Christ, the local church.

Therefore, the practice of fellowship is the outward exercise of our inner unity, together, in accomplishing God’s will. It is not only innate but also obligatory in accomplishing God’s purpose for the true church.

The Primary Purpose of Fellowship:

Having the same desire to, actively, do God’s will. This means that each of us must take an active role in seeking to save the lost and helping to restore the lost into an active relationship with God. We all must be doing our part to fulfill the collective will of God within the church. Luke 19:10 tells us that the main purpose for Jesus coming, in human form, was; “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Christian means Christ like. Therefore, as Christians, we all must have this same purpose as Jesus. This means our primary goal in life is to do all we can to daily seek and save the lost. In 2 Corinthians, chapter five, we find that to seek and save the lost is through the process of reconciliation through Jesus. We read in verses 18-20; “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” When we fail to have personal evangelism in our individual lives, to bring the lost back into an active relationship with God, we are not fallowing God’s will of unified fellowship. This has to be our number one goal as a Christian: Unity in our outreach fellowship. If we fail to have unified fellowship: then we are guilty of the warning of Hebrews chapter ten, verse 29. Therefore, doing Christian fellowship means to have the same goal in life of doing everything we can to bring others to Jesus or we do not have unity in our Christian fellowship. This means we, as Christians, need to organize in our function of seeking to bring the lost to Jesus.

To be a Christian means to be active in fellowship through common goals. This requires that we are active in each other’s lives.

What is Fellowship?

Fellowship is taking an active role in the churches primary purpose. It is doing your active best to help with the goals God has tasked each Christian and the church. Seek to discover where you can best help, reaching the lost, by discovering your spiritual gifts, natural abilities, and by knowing the needs of the church. Then help where you can make, not just yourself, but the church as a whole, be the most fruitful. If you do not know your spiritual gifts, pitch in where you have a natural ability. Fellowship is actively working with others toward the common goal God has tasked the church. As you work with others, your gifts will surface and you will be pleasing to God.

What does Fellowship look like?

Praying together: Acts 2:42
Having meals together: Acts 2:42
Physically helping each other: 2 Cor 8:4
Spiritually supporting each other’s Christian work: Gal 2:9
Working together to fulfill God’s will: Eph 3:9
Unified in the purpose of Jesus: Php 3:10
Encouragement: Acts 15:32 and Heb 10:24
Having common purpose: Acts 2:44, Acts 4:32,
Supporting each other in the same faith: Tit 1:4
Having the same salvation: Jude 1:3

Sin against Fellowship:

Sin Definition: To depart voluntarily from the path of duty prescribed by God to man; to violate the divine law in any particular, by actual transgression or by the neglect or nonobservance of its injunctions; to violate any known rule of duty; often followed by against.

Fellowship; designed and directed by God, for us as Christians to take part in. Sin is voluntarily not doing the will of God. Therefore, to remove yourself from the unified fellowship of other Christians and/or the church is to sin against God. Sin is punishable by death to a real hell and eternal separation from God.

Survey Questionnaire “I’m a Christian: What should I do?”

Survey Questionnaire

“I’m a Christian: What should I do?”

How To Use This Survey:

Each person is to complete the survey questions on their own. If husband/wife, then each completes their own survey.

  1. The survey asks question that require multiple answers to be filled in.
  2. This survey is intended to gather information that might be used to improve:
    1. Church outreach
    2. Church fellowship
    3. Church worship (in and out of assemble)
    4. To help identify each person’s variety of gifts of service
  3. Please return the completed survey to Guy Lewis as soon as completed.

God has blessed each of His children with talents to be used in service to Him. It is the aim of this survey to help each person identify their own talents and identify to the individual member and the Church leadership, how best to use these talents in service to God here in Payson, Arizona.

In Philippians 2:12-13, Paul gave this advice to Christians, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and do for His good pleasure.” From this passage we learn that salvation is something we must work to preserve and to promote. This does not mean that we can save ourselves, “for it is God who works in you”. But it does mean that we must maintain the “Temple of God” (each of us) by taking regular inventories of ourselves, our lives, our gifts; to improve our submission to Him. He is the power of our salvation. Are we letting Him work within us?

On the following pages, you will be asked to write down self observations about yourself, the fellowship here in Payson, the way we worship, and how we evangelize for Christ. Use the time to make critical and honest assessment of all four areas. Each of the four areas require a direction of growth by all Christians that we must each undertake in our service to God. Please observe carefully and above all honestly.

This survey will also give you the rewarding gift of seeing your own personal experiences along your personal spiritual journey, because it is your journey. Life is a grand exploration and the way we use the life given to us is our expression of the love we really have toward God found in our hearts. Please embrace this experience and treasure the self-knowledge this survey will share with you and your personal worship to God.

Questions to Consider:

1. Life Experiences

In the space below, write five life experiences that give you special preparation for a certain area of God’s work.

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In the space below, explain the ways you can use these experiences to do the Lord’s will here in Payson. (Example: A person who has moved many times in their life might be best suited to help out on a welcoming committee.)

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2. Life Skills

1 Corinthians 12:5-6 says this, “There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.”

In the space below write five of your personal life skills that can be used to do the Lord’s will.

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In the space below explain how these skills can be utilized within the church. (Example: A person who understands electronics could help the church maintain its electronic equipment.)

Skill________________________Utilized_______________________

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Skill________________________Utilized_______________________

3. Personality

In the space below, circle the personality trait that best describes you and then write an advantage and a disadvantage to having this trait.

Are you introvert or extrovert?

Advantage:

Disadvantage:

Do you prefer routine or variety?

Advantage:

Disadvantage:

Are you easily excited or passive?

Advantage:

Disadvantage:

Are you a dreamer or a doer?

Advantage:

Disadvantage:

4. Fellowship

If you were to take a survey of your church family, what would be the typical definition they would give for the word fellowship?

In the space below, write three essential parts of true church fellowship.

Does the definition you gave above include these three elements?

List three benefits to church fellowship.

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List five ways that your church fellowships.

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List four things the church could do better to promote fellowship.

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In every congregation, there is a nucleus of people who are most involved in fellowship. Make a list of their names and list what they have in common.

What would it take for you to be part of this nucleus?

What could this group do to be more inclusive?

5. Worship

Below you will find several leading questions to help you observe and learn about the condition of worship within your church family. Take time to make a critical assessment of this important part of your world. It is an essential step along the path of your spiritual journey.

If you were to take a survey of your congregation, what would they say about the way you personally contribute to the worship assembly?

If you were to take a survey of your congregation, what would be their favorite expression of worship?

On average, how much time is given to the area of worship you listed above within the collective worship service?

Is the amount of time given to this area of worship enough?

Who, in your estimation, controls the order of worship expression?

In your opinion, how effective is this person or group?

How can this person or group improve?

Does the order of worship ever very to accommodate the needs of more than one group? (Example: Is anything ever done in the worship assembly to encourage deeper worship in the hearts of: the elderly, the children, the young adults, the new members, etc…

Make a list of the various segments within the congregation and the different worship expressions they need to grow and be included in the worship experience. (Example: children, elderly, new members, recovering addicts, restored members, young adults, etc…

Within every congregation, there is a nucleus of people who are regular in their attendance of worship services. Compile a list of the names of those people and what they have in common that draws them to these services.

Because Christians are called upon to have a constant attitude of worship daily, (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and Romans 12:1-2), our expression of worship to God will come more often outside of the collective assembly and the church building than it will within the worship time contained inside the building. Individual worship time is necessary and commanded by God. See Matthew 6:6. List three things that the church family does to promote individual worship time outside the building.

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List seven things the church family could do to better promote individual worship time outside the building.

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6. Evangelism (Outreach)

Below you will find several leading questions to help learn what the church observes as their approach to evangelism in the local community. Take time to make a critical assessment of this commanded and important part of your world.

List three things you personally do concerning evangelism in your world.

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Make a list of five things the church does to evangelize the local community.

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Which of these things could you help?

Make a list of five areas of the local community which the church is not reaching.

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In the space below, explain what would be needed to happen, by the church family, for these outreach areas to become fruitful.

What did the church do to reach you?

In the space below, describe the effect these outreach efforts had on you and how they could be applied to others.

List six things that make the church appealing to the lost.

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List six things that make the church unappealing to the lost.

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In the space below, make a list of the seven most evangelistic people in the church family.

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In the space below, list five unique characteristics that make these people good soul winners for the Lord.

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Please include: name, age, how long a Christian, and gender.

Name: _____________________________________________

Age: ______________________________________________

How long have you been a Christian: (in years) ____________

Male or Female: ____________________________________

Upon completion of this survey/questionnaire, please return it to:

Guy Lewis, HC3 Box 639-D, Payson, AZ 85541