Tag Archives: discipleship

#haveyoueatentoday?

Author: Jenni Newbanks

This past Friday, the women’s group at Blacksmith Priory were studying Romans, Chapter 7 when an amazing topic began to be discussed. To give you a little background on the study, Paul was writing about his internal battle with sin. This lead to the telling of “the Tale of the Two Dogs.” The tale goes like this:

A wise man said he had two dogs inside of him. One of the dogs is evil and mean and the other dog is kind and good. The evil dog fights the good dog relentlessly and when someone asked the man which dog wins, after quiet reflection the man answered, “The dog I feed the most.”

This retelling of an ancient Native American tale brought about a discussion that just exploded into something amazing. I talked about my personal struggles with “feeding the good dog” daily and asked my sisters in Christ to hold me accountable.

One of our regular members, Kelli McClellan, brought such a wise thought to the table. She said, “When I wake up and eat breakfast, I end up eating lunch and dinner throughout the day. When I wake up and skip breakfast, I could go all day without eating, without realizing how hungry I am and by the end of the day I am starving and will be satisfied with anything that does not take much work to prepare.”

This is how our metabolisms work. If you eat breakfast, it jump starts your metabolism for the day. This can also be applied to our “spiritual metabolism.” If you wake up every morning with prayer and the Word, you reach out to God more throughout the day.

Now let’s take this a step further, when you are choosing a church, you go to get “fed,” right? Some may find this as a foreign concept but this is ultimately what we are looking for, a huge “Sunday meal” to feed our spirits and set us up for the week ahead. A big problem in the church today is that many believers think they only have to “eat” on Sundays. Think about how you would feel if you were to apply that in a physical sense. That would be crazy if we only ate on Sundays, right!? I cannot stress enough how important it is to feed yourself spiritually everyday. Think of your spirit as one that feeds solely on the Word of God.

Imagine how empty and frail your spirit would become by Tuesday or Wednesday. Do you think your spirit would have the strength to fight , as Paul describes, “another law waging war against law of my mind.” (Romans 7:23) If we took our spiritual health as serious as our physical health we would feed ourselves daily, would we not?

And let’s think about the food you will feed your spirit. Will you be satisfied with a daily devotional written by a man that makes you feel good every morning? I would call this a “simple carb” for your spiritual diet. Simple carbs burn up quickly leaving the body just as quickly as it entered. What I will tell you is the Word serves up MEAT– Something complex enough to get you through to your next meal.

So it is simple. As members of the body of Christ, we are to hold one another accountable even for our daily feeding. Remind one another by asking one simple question. “Have you eaten today?”

Well…have you?

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Reaching the Lost… at 11 years old!

I think we can all agree that one of the weaker points of Evangelical Christianity these days is that many of our non-clergy believers are simply not engaging in any sort of evangelism throughout the week.  There are many reasons we can point to as to why this is, but one reason that seems most easily apparent is that a large number of believers have a difficulty with not only sharing the gospel, but even articulating what the gospel message even IS!

This is not meant as an attack on our church goers, but it is simply an observed situation when the subject is brought up in small group conversations.  Like many subjects that we expect the average believer to have at least a nominal grasp of, when questions are asked to prompt discussion, sometimes we get that glassed-over I-have-no-idea-what-planet-I’m-on look.

And so, a month or so ago, Blacksmith Priory hosted a very compact crash-course conference in order to answer the question, “What is the Gospel and How can I Share it?”  We had a modest turn out for that mid-week evening gathering, but among the attendees was a bright young man of 11 years old.  Throughout the two or so hours of discussion and instruction, he asked some very good questions and overall was one of the most engaged of those present.  I believe all who attended that evening gained a more solid understanding and confidence with how to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with people around them, but I had no idea what was going to be sparked that night.

That same 11 year old boy from the crash-course is a part of our Sunday Night Sparks youth group, and he shared with the others some of the things he learned during the conference.  As I saw the riveted looks on the faces of his peers as he explained what he had learned, I had no idea what God was doing in the hearts of those who heard.  A week went by before the NEXT Sparks gathering, and I could not believe what had transpired.  As we talked about prayer requests before getting started with the lesson for the night, one of the 11 year old girls who had heard the report of the Gospel conference asked for prayer for a brand new believer that she had led to Christ that week… ON THE SCHOOLBUS!  She had taken the relaying of the information about sharing the Gospel as a personal challenge and now she was excitedly reporting the power of God at work that she had personally experienced as she had been willing to open her mouth to speak the truth of Christ crucified and resurrected.

As that report concluded, the boy who had attended the conference shared his story of how he had shared the Gospel with a boy at school while waiting on the bus to pick them up.  Both stories had the common thread that neither of them had been pushy, but simply shared the story of what had happened 2000 years ago, and what it means for us today, as well as what it means for them personally.  As they bounced back and forth, comparing notes, they both decided that they needed to continue to share with the kids on their buses, as that seemed to provide a relaxed social environment for conversation.  In the midst of this, the kids came to the conclusion they wished they had bibles to give out to those they talked to about Jesus.

Looking around the room as these stories unfolded, I saw some of the other kids starting to get excited about it as well, and they began chattering about where they thought they might be able to talk to someone about Jesus, and who they might talk to.  Some of them were clarifying various points of the Gospel story to make sure they understood it by asking each other questions.  I honestly have never seen such an enthusiasm for evangelism anywhere in the church before.

Before the night was over, several of the youth had concocted a plan to intentionally sit with someone different on the bus every day, with the deliberate plan to engage in spiritual conversation and to find out how they can pray for the kids they sit with, to invite them to the Sparks group, and to talk to them about Christ and pray with them if they can.  This plan evolved with very little input or help from adults that night.  They hatched the plan and took it as a mission completely on their own while I sat back and listened, simply amazed.

My wife and I stayed up quite a while that night after Sparks was over, and just praised God for these amazing children who are so clearly vessels of mercy, and for what God is doing through them.  After praying about it, we decided that this was most definitely something we needed to continue to foster and support.  And so it was agreed, that Blacksmith Priory’s School Bus Outreach was to be born out of this.

As a ministry, we have committed to empowering these kids who want to participate in the Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations, by supplying them with miniature New Testaments to give to other children on the bus who they have shared the story of Jesus with.  We will also be producing simple printed material that will help with presenting the Gospel and also will serve as an invitation into Sparks youth group, and into the Kingdom of God as a whole.

In the last month since this began, two new believers have been added to the Kingdom, and many more have heard the message of Grace, out of the mouth of babes, as it were.

Please pray for this incredible movement of God in such a young and vibrant body of believers, passionate to see the message of salvation for those who trust in and profess Jesus Christ as Lord, carried into their own personal mission field.  May the Spirit of the Lord go with these young ones, as the Spark within them is kindled into a Flame that cannot be extinguished.

Arts & Crafts Fundraiser on Jan. 23rd @ 6pm to 9pm!

PRESS RELEASE:

Blacksmith Priory will be holding their very first quarterly fundraiser Arts & Crafts Fair on Friday, January 23rd from 6pm-9pm in Lexington, SC’s Old Mill on Main Street!  Come and discover all that Blacksmith Priory’s ministry is about, from marriage and crisis counseling to adult discipleship and life coaching, to a vibrant youth group where bright young lives are molded into lasting relationships with each other and with God.

The vision for Blacksmith Priory is to exist as a spiritual armory for the equipping of individuals and families in grace and in truth to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ that we make disciples of all nations.

To carry out this vision, Blacksmith Priory carries out weekly conversations in small-group settings for couples, for men, for women, and for youth, centered around applying scriptural knowledge and context as well as provide a support system for those who want to take their walk with Christ more seriously.  As a key component, Blacksmith Priory also makes available a counseling service for married couples to help guide people in coming together around a Christ-centered and Grace-filled family life, and how that family life is the hub and the foundation for their walk as individual believers within the body of Christ.

There will be plenty of handmade arts & crafts to browse and buy, and all proceeds will go to support the ongoing operation of the ministry work of Blacksmith Priory!  Please come out and support Blacksmith Priory in their mission to be of use to the community of believers in South Carolina and beyond.

Artist & Craftsmen donations are welcome and appreciated.  Email blacksmithpriory@gmail.com for more details on donating.  God Bless!