Philippians 3:12 – 4:1 (NRSV)

12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;  but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,  whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

James 1:22 (NRSV)

22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

DEVOTION – Mark Alan Carter (Texas)

Our church was experiencing a slow, study decline.  The older members had died or were in poor health and unable to attend, and we were not attracting many younger members.  Consequently, we decided that even though our worship service was good, we needed to get our message to people outside our church.

We started an outreach program using both words and actions.  Several church members wrote a column in our local weekly paper sharing their personal stories of challenge.  They told how our church had brought them closer to God and increased their faith.  These members also volunteered  their time to help at the local Meals On Wheels center, our community thrift center, and other community-aid organizations.  Leading by example we could show, rather than just speak about, our faith.

This program started over a year ago.  And while our weekly attendance is still small, it is increasing.  Best of all, the new members contribute to these programs too, which helps us expand our ministry.  One member at a time, we are using our efforts not only to spread God’s word but also to do God’s work.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: With God as our guide, we can guide others to God.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, even though sometimes we are small in number, with you we are large in spirit.  Give us the faith to lead by example, and help us to share our faith with others.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: STRUGGLING CHURCHES

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