Monthly Archives: February 2010

Running in LOVE

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I am encouraging YOU today-
PRESS ON
and
RUN in LOVE!! 
 Run harder, run faster, run to the goal and take as many with you as you can…
God does not want anyone to perish…
NOT ONE. 
 
He desires a relationship with everyone…whether we realize it or not…
he reaches out to us day in and day out…
through creation,
 
 
through the air we breathe,
through the flickering stars at night,
the full moon in the dark sky,
and the sun that has slipped down into evening…
He uses creation to show us HOPE in a new life…
 
 
We were all once but a seed,
sown in love,
nurtured,
cared for
and
grown into a beautiful work of God Almighty. 
 
 Each seed bears witness with it’s Creator…
to the beauty that lies within…
let us grab a hold of that beauty and spread it’s aroma around the world! 
The beautiful and permeating aroma of Christ. 
He IS alive and well and in our midst! 
Believe it,
claim it
and
act on it!
 

40/50/90/3000 Devotional: Day 5- February 27, 2010

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40/50/90/3000 Devotional: Day 5- February 27, 2010

Day 5 – February 27, 2010

“I remember Harry Denman as always warm, open, friendly. He had a view of evangelism that was
anything but narrow. While he subscribed to most of the traditional methods of evangelism –
including revivals and personal witness – he was open to many other methods, some new and
experimental.” (Prophetic Evangelist: The Living Legacy of Harry Denman, 1993)


New and experimental ways of evangelism

I work with a group of teens today who have challenged every concept I have ever had concerning
evangelism. They certainly want to hear about Jesus Christ, and they even desire to be part of the church
of today. However, they do things differently than most in the church world have ever done them.
When it comes to communication, they do it differently. They don’t talk on the phone so much anymore;
they text message each other, even if they are sitting in the same room, often sitting on the same piece of
furniture. I have even found myself texting with them while in the same room. It offers a degree of
privacy while staying in the group.

Facebook and Myspace are two of the communication tools of choice with the teens of today and, by the
way, the generation of people 50 years old and above are also coming to use these tools in huge numbers.
E-mail is passé with the youth of today; they just don’t use it. Communication with the youth of today
needs to be in short bites, a text message; in video format, such as Youtube; in music they can download
from the web, such as itunes; in becoming their friend on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace.
It is time that we as the church embrace the methods necessary to communicate the gospel to the youth of
today, without changing the message in any way. Take the time over the next days and weeks to get to
know the youth around you, in your community, in your own church, through the media of social
networking sites. You may just find they are open and receptive to coming to visit your church and, better
yet, they will come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Jesus taught people in many different places at different times. He taught in the synagogues, out in
the open, while moving along the shore in a boat. Jesus never changed the message but he took the
message to where the people were.

Luke 5: 1-3 (NLT)
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to
listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left
them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push
it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.

Lord, like Jesus, John Wesley, and Harry Denman before us, let’s take the gospel to where the people are.
Amen.

Submitted by: Rev. Ronnie G. Collins

40/50/90/3000 Devotional Day 4

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Day 4 – February 26, 2010

Harry Denman would agree with Dwight L. Moody, who told one of his critics,

“I like the way I am doing evangelism better than the way you are not doing it!”

 (Prophetic Evangelist: The LivingLegacy of Harry Denman, 1993) Howard W. Ellis

Harry Denman was a man who blazed a trail for Christ. He spent a lifetime telling others about
Jesus. Today he sits among that great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12 – cheering us on! I imagine
he is telling us to quit sitting on our hands, to move our feet, to keep our eyes on the prize, and to
run the race with perseverance. Harry never lost sight of his goal, and we are to study how he ran
the race. He never stopped. He never gave up. He responded to God’s call on his life, and he spent
his life sharing the love of Christ with everyone he met. Winning souls for Christ requires
ACTION, and we must be a VERB for Christ. We become that VERB when we practice prayer,
fasting, serving, seeking, and winning souls for Christ. We cannot do any of this without prayer
first and foremost and like Epaphras in verses 5-8, Harry was one reliable worker for Christ and so
are you!

Colossians 1: 3-12 (The MESSAGE)
3-5Our prayers for you are always spilling over into thanksgivings. We can’t quit thanking God our
Father and Jesus our Messiah for you! We keep getting reports on your steady faith in Christ, our Jesus,
and the love you continuously extend to all Christians. The lines of purpose in your lives never grow
slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.
5-8The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn’t diminish or weaken over
time. It’s the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has
in you. From the very first day you heard and recognized the truth of what God is doing, you’ve been
hungry for more. It’s as vigorous in you now as when you learned it from our friend and close associate
Epaphras. He is one reliable worker for Christ! I could always depend on him. He’s the one who told us
how thoroughly love had been worked into your lives by the Spirit.
9-12Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to
give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways
in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work
hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work.
We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting
your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over
into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful
that he has for us.
13-14God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he
loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep
repeating.

May your prayers today be spilling over with thanksgiving! We are no longer in the pit and our sins
are gone! Now we must carry out that promise to others and continually throw out the lifeline of
hope. May the strength of the Lord fill you as you put your prayers into action just as that great
cloud of witnesses did who went before us. May your heart overflow with the joy that comes in
knowing Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Submitted by: Donna Godwin, Lay Member Holston Conference UMC

 

My prayer for today…

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I love this song and everything it means.  God has been speaking to me about being ONE with HIM.  In everything I have done over the past 6 months God keeps telling me that WE ARE ONE no matter where we are, who we are, or what we are doing.  We are ONE BODY SERVING ONE LORD.  We are bound together by His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Yesterday as I was doing some work in the studio I was playing with a piece of multicolored clay.  It was red, white and blue.  As I rolled it around in my fingers, I mashed and pulled on it and then rolled it up again.  Each time I did this the colors would mix together a little more.  Well, by the time I had gotten to bible study, that little ball of clay was all one color and do you know what the predominant color was?  Red. 

In our bible study, Experiencing God, we are learning how to discern God’s voice in our lives.  We are learning how, when and where he speaks.  Well, for me it was in this little piece of clay.  God was saying, “Donna- this is what happens when you ( the world) all come together to do MY work- you all become ONE as you intermingle, work, share and come into a loving relationship with ME.  You all blend together as I shape and form you into MY image.  You are all brought together by the precious blood of my Son, Jesus Christ.” 

So, today, as we journey into Day 3 of our 40 days of devotions, I am asking God to BIND US TOGETHER LORD.  To Bind us together with cords that cannot be broken.  To bind us together with love.  I am so excited to be a part of the Holston Conference and I see God’s hand at work here in Hillsville.  God is bringing people into our lives intentionally…all we have to do is invite them through the doors of our church buildings, take them by the hand when they get there, and offer them extreme hospitality.  It doesn’t matter what they look like, what they are wearing, or how they smell.  There are no prerequisites or dress codes in God’s House.  What matters is that WE ( you and I ) invite them IN to meet GOD face to face.  Because GOD IS THERE in each one of us.  Now let’s go out and do what we are called to do…EMBRACE the world with Christ.

I found this song on YOUTUBE and it is so fitting for this time and day.  We will be meeting at the glorious river at Camp Dickenson….

This song is for Pastor Ronnie and Pastor Betsy… I love you brother and sister…press on!

Donna

Day 3 of 40 days of devotions

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Day 3 – February 25, 2010

Be Perfect as God Is Perfect

Read Psalm 139:13-16

13 For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.

 15 My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.

 

2 Corinthian~ 12:9 But he said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in
weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may
rest on me. (NIV)

After graduating from college in 1986 with a B.A. in English, I began doing volunteer work for a
Kindergarten class near my home A few days before I was to start work, I went in and met the students
and talked to them about my wheelchair. None of the students had any questions, and they were all very
accepting of me right away.

Then, a few weeks later, I was helping an adorable blonde-haired boy named Anthony. All of a
sudden he put down his pencil, looked up at me with his big blue eyes, and said, “Miss Betsy, just why
are you in that wheelchair, anyway?” I explained to him that when I was born, there was something
wrong with my back, and because of that, I wasn’t able to walk. He looked at me very seriously and
asked, “Did God make you like that?” I replied, “Yes, He did, Anthony.” Anthony exclaimed, “Well, He
made you wrong, didn’t He?” Then he picked up his pencil and went back to work, as if that settled
everything.

Anthony is now a college student. What I hope he has come to learn over the years is that God is
perfect, and everything He has created is perfect. I can’t tell you why I was born with a birth defect. But
God’s Word says that I was created in His image. I sometimes get frustrated because I don’t have perfect
health. And, of course I’d like to have the body of a super-model. Wouldn’t we all? But I know that God
has a plan for my life. He has given me unique talents and abilities. No matter what my limitations are, if
I put my trust in Him and allow Him to have control over my life, He can use me to do His work

Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for creating us! We know that you have a plan for all of us. Please use
our lives in service for you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE LIVING WITH DISABILITIES

Betsy Key (FUMC Hillsville)

Betsy lived with a disability that left her in a wheelchair all of her life, but she used every available tool to
win people to Christ. Betsy won people to Christ through conversations on the internet. She utilized e-
mail and Facebook to get the job done. Betsy was also active in door-to-door visitation when it was
possible to make appointments in homes that were wheelchair accessible.

Betsy Key went to her eternal home in heaven in January of this year. If anyone had excuses not to
witness and work for Christ, Betsy did, but she never used excuses.

How about you?

Submitted by: Rev Ronnie G. Collins on behalf of the late Betsy Key

A Challenge for Wytheville District of the Holston Conference

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Now for the challenge: The Holston Evangelism Conference in Knoxville this past week-end was outstanding…several of you were there and brought people from your churches. We were all amazed at the number of people who came, mostly laypersons.

There were 350-400 there and as one speaker said, “There is something about to happen in this conference. This many people don’t give up their week-end to come to a church meeting unless the Spirit is drawing them.”  As you know, Holston has a goal of baptizing 3000 people on Pentecost Sunday (May 23rd).

This number may sound unattainable, but the Lord gave me a formula to break the number down so we could have a more realistic goal. If we divide the 3000 by 12 districts, each district will need to baptize 250 people.  If we divide 53 (the number of charges/station churches we have) into 250, each of our circuits/station churches will only need to baptize 4.7 people! If every district would “do the math”, each church/circuit would know what they should aim for, and then pray for the Lord to show them who to talk to, who to witness to, etc.

You know, sometimes there are people who have attended church for a long time and who have never joined, who would really like to be baptized and make a confession of their belief in Jesus. Sometimes we don’t think to ever offer baptism, etc. Other times, church members will say, “I have a family member who has talked about getting baptized…”  I am praying for new converts….but also let’s look around….there may be people who haven’t been offered baptism or offered Christ, right under our noses. 

Our goal for WY District is for 53 pastors to baptize 4.7 (how about 5!) people! Can we do it?  No, but the Lord can!  Does this district rise to challenges? Absolutely. We always give more than the goal set…we always fix more food baskets/health kits than the goal set.  Please share this challenge with your church/churches.

In prayer with you and for you,

Meg

40 Days of Prayer

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Dear Friends,

 

Tomorrow, February 23, 2010 marks the beginning of Forty Days of Prayer by the people of the Holston Conference United Methodist Churches. It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit might prepare and equip us to communicate in an invitational way to our friends, acquaintances and those strangers among us God’s desire to be in relationship with all persons.

Please join me in this 40 Day Prayer Journey that begins of the 23rd of February and ends 40 days later. I believe if we will join our voices and hearts in conversation with God, our Lord will hear and empower our lives that we may point people to Jesus.

 “And now O Lord, come among us and give us a desire to be in dialogue with you that our witness may be strong, attractive, and convincing so that those who come into contact with us may see and desire to be in relationship with you.” AMEN

 Yours in Christ,

Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.

An invitation….

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I am an ordinary person who has realized God’s purpose in my life.  It has taken me a lifetime and I am finally here, walking hand in hand with God on His amazing journey.  I am proof that God DOES use ordinary people every single day.  I am a mother of two beautiful young women, the wife of a loving and caring husband, a daughter, sister, and friend.  God instilled a love for reading, writing and drawing in me at a very young age.  He used my parents as my guides, along with many others.  My Father is a carpenter- yes, my earthly father!  He can build anything with his hands and mind.  God gave him that gift.  He passed that gift on to me.  My Mother is a wonderful photographer and she passed that love onto me also.  Both of my parents love to read and my Mom loves to give beautiful descriptions of weddings, people, events, and just daily life.  I can remember her always being able to do that and she still does to this day.   My Granny loved to work crossword puzzles and was an ace at spelling.  All of these things are from God and have helped me realize God’s purpose for my life.   These things are all proof that God really does use the ordinary to fulfill his plans.  Not one of us is any more special than the next.  God loves us all equally.  He gives each of us different talents and gifts so we can come together and work as ONE BODY for HIM. 

That is amazing to me because just like a car has many parts to make it run- without one part it won’t run.  So, all parts are equally important.  God gave us His Holy Word to make us “run.”  All parts are equally important and without one- things change.  We can have love, but without faith, what do we have? 

We can have faith and love, but without action where are we? 

 We need all of it, not part of it.

I like to think of the bible as God’s love letter to the world.  Today I was working on my bible study and I read the following statement: 

 “God reveals what He is about to do.  That revelation becomes an invitation to join him.”   

One of my goals in life is to help others realize God’s invitation to them. In reading Day 5-Unit 1- of Experiencing God- I had a vision of a person receiving an invitation in the mail. As they open the envelope….God’s touch seeps out and wraps itself around the person, weaving in and out of thier being. As they read, they are convicted by God’s loving invitation to join Him where He is at.

The invitation reads…I love you my child….please join hands with me in this journey…I yearn for you to walk side by side with me…let’s meet today!

It’s so simple…we make it hard. I want to encourage you to send someone a note today. Let God be your guide in your words,  invite someone to meet God. Pray over the card and then mail it! The bible is God’s love letter to the world…it is my heart’s desire for people to come to know this love in a new way…not judging or fingerpointing, but loving, kind, compassionate and REAL. You can be that catalyst for someone today!

It is when we all walk in love, hand in hand that we can turn the world upside down for Jesus!

 

     

Day one of 40 days of prayer

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Day 1- February 23, 2010

“The desert mothers and fathers of the third century tell a story about paying attention. A novice asked the
teacher, ‘Holy One, is there anything I can do to make myself closer to God?’ The elder replied, ‘As little
as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.’ The novice responded, ‘Then of what use are these
spiritual disciplines of prayer?’ The teacher answered, ‘To make sure that you are awake when the sun
rises.’” (Oden, 2008)

Spiritual disciplines such as prayer and fasting keep us awake.

In Matthew 6:5 Jesus says, “When you pray.”

In Matthew 6:16 Jesus says “When you fast.”

Actually earlier in Matthew 6, Jesus says “When you give.” Jesus was teaching concerning some very
important spiritual disciplines in the life of the Christian. Giving, praying, and fasting.

In Jesus’ teaching, He uses the introductory word “when” as if He assumed that we as Christ followers
would practice these disciplines. Jesus didn’t say if we give, pray, and fast, but when.

Take the time today to read Matthew Chapter 6 in its entirety. Pray and ask God how He would have you
to seek Him in these 90 Days of Investing in the lives of 3000 people.

One of the comments that I often hear when I talk about fasting is this, “The bible says that we are to fast
in secret,” and that is correct, sort of. The bible says that when you give, don’t do it with a parade to
announce to people that you are giving and how much. The bible says that when you pray not to pray
loudly so that others can hear how spiritual you are and don’t repeat phrases over and over again thinking
that because of the repetition, you will get what you want. Then the bible says, when you fast comb your
hair and wash your face so as not to show the world how wonderful you are for going without food.

In all of this, Jesus is not saying that we cannot receive an offering in church, Jesus is not saying that we
cannot pray in a church service, and Jesus is not saying that when you fast it has to be done in secret with
no one knowing what you are doing.

No, Jesus is saying that when you do these things, do them unto the Lord. Do them because you love Him
and because you are practicing a spiritual discipline that will help you to be awake when the sun rises.

Prayer

Lord, help me to understand your words in Matthew Chapter 6 today. Help me to draw closer to you
through these next 40 days. Give me understanding and revelation and guide me to someone today who
needs to know You. Amen

Rev. Ronnie G. Collins

40-50-90-3000!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I encourage ALL Christ Followers to join us-regardless of denomination!

This is exciting!

Blessings,

Donna

 

Tuesday February 23rd will start the 1st phase of our Holston Conference emphasis on Evangelism.

I hope that you will come along and join us. God is at work! 

I will be posting each day of the 40 Day Devotional here on the blog. Each day has been inspired by something in Harry Denman’s life. I hope that you draw closer to God, get a passion for leading people to know Jesus and get to know more about who we celebrate in Harry Denman. Please pray that God will help us to discover those he has already prepared for this time. 

Ronnie Collins

 

 Introduction to A 90-Day Investment in the Lives of 3000 People
By Ronnie G Collins
Chair: Holston Conference Witness Team
February 23rd, 2010

You are about to embark on an adventure with God. What will this adventure look like?
It could mean that you will pray, fast, and seek God’s face and that He will lead you to people that
need to know Him, people who need to be baptized, people who need to be discipled. It may mean
that at the end of these 90 days, you will have drawn closer to God through the spiritual disciplines
of prayer, fasting, and the giving of your time and energy. It may mean that there will be more
people in heaven someday because you took the challenge to ask God for 3000 souls that will follow
Christ.

 Matthew 28: 18-20
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge:

“God authorized and commanded me to
commission you:

Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by
baptism in the threefold name:

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Then instruct them in the practice of all I
have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
The Message

Jesus said, go and make disciples and that is just what we intend to do. In order to find them, we
have to go. And in order to disciple them, we have to introduce them to Jesus Christ.
We are extending this challenge to you. Seek God in prayer and fasting in some form or fashion for
40 days, from February 23rd to April 3rd, 2010. Ask God to lead us, empower us, and embolden us
as witnesses that we might see 3000 people come for baptism on Pentecost Sunday 2010, May 23rd.
Use this devotional guide to lead your prayers over the next 40 days; after this 40-day period of
prayer and fasting, prepare to spend 50 intentional days seeking those who need to know Jesus the
Christ.

 

 In answer to the question you may have about why 3000, I offer the following letter written by
Harry Denman in 1949.

 

Dear Friend:
This letter is to ask every pastor not to observe Pentecost on June 5, but to meet the conditions so
that every church will have a Pentecost on that day. It can be done if we will organize our church to
witness to the fact that Jesus is Christ and that he is alive and can save persons from sin and death.

Easter to Pentecost
Fifty Golden Days of Evangelism

EASTER, We celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Redeemer. We have a living Christ. This
is the beginning of evangelism. Why shouldn’t every church organize visitation teams to visit one night
each week during this period and secure thousands of first commitments for Christ and his church, to be
received on Pentecost Sunday, June 5?
FAMILY WEEK. May 1-8, This is a splendid time to visit young families and secure their first
commitment for Christ and his church and establish a Christian home. What holy days there are, Easter to
Pentecost, Including Family Week!
There were One-hundred-twenty in the Upper Room. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost.
Three thousand were baptized that first Pentecost. How many will be baptized in our churches on
Pentecost Sunday 1949?
Let us pray and work daily that every church will have a Pentecost.
Your Friend, Harry Denman
Shepherds, May 1949

 

In memory of Evangelist Harry Denman, the Witness Team is presenting a challenge to all United
Methodist Churches in the Holston Conference.

 

Easter Sunday is April 4, 2010, and Pentecost Sunday is May 23. There are 50 days between
Easter and Pentecost. We are presenting the challenge to each church to organize visitation teams to visit
in your community, engage people on facebook, in e-mails, to come up with your own unique ways to
invite people to Christ, to church, during these 50 days.

 

In his book The Unchurched Next Door, Thom Rainer and his group conducted a scientific
survey and found the following results:

82 percent of the unchurched are at least “somewhat likely” to attend church if they are invited.
• Eight out of 10 unchurched persons said they would come to church if they were invited.
• Only 21 percent of active churchgoers invite anyone to church in the course of a year.
• Only 2 percent of church members invite an unchurched person to church.
• Very few of the unchurched have had someone share with them how to become a Christian.
• The unchurched would like to develop a real and sincere relationship with a Christian.

“For years I have been asked how churches can grow. I have consulted with hundreds of church
leaders across America, leaders who sincerely desire that their churches reach people. ‘Why aren’t we
reaching people?’ I am often asked. ‘Why is our society so resistant to the gospel?’ many inquire.
“After nearly a decade of research and almost fifteen years of consulting with churches, I am
becoming more and more convinced that the answers to most of these questions can be found in the
mirror. Nearly 130 million people in the United States alone would come to church if they were invited.
And if they came, many would hear about the Savior who offers the only way of salvation.”
Thom S. Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door

 

Please e-mail us to let us know that your church will participate in “50 Golden Days of
Evangelism 2010.” Let us pray and work daily that each of our churches will have a Pentecost Sunday on
May 23, 2010.

 

Enjoy the journey.

 

Ronnie G Collins, Chair – Holston Witness Team
If you have questions, please contact Rev. Ronnie Collins, Chair of The Holston Conference
Witness Team, phone 276-728-2434 or email